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The Crumb for March 3rd, 2017

Lori Bailey / March 3rd 2017

Small Food makes big strides

New York City public schools are shuffling around some of the cereals offered in their free breakfast program. Where the original lineup featured familiar options from food giants Kellogg, Post, and General Mills, they've chosen to swap in two cereals from small California food startup Back to the Roots. Their certified organic, whole grain Cinnamon Clusters and Purple Cornflakes are replacing two Kashi cereals, made by Kellogg. It's worth noting that those particular Kashi varieties had already been discontinued by Kellogg. Props anyway to NYC public schools for being willing to take a chance on small food businesses. Hopefully, a success story here will spell better days ahead for small food startups trying to make a break.

Knock knock, who's there?

Oh, it's the ICE - that's Immigration and Customs Enforcement - at the door of the restaurant industry. The Trump administration is showing no signs of backing down on their proposed immigration measures, which could affect roughly 10 to 20 percent of the hospitality workforce (obviously, accurate numbers are hard to get). It puts restaurants in a tough spot, since they rely on the cheap and reliable stream of undocumented immigrant labor to stay within extraordinarily tight margins. Time to buckle up; it's gonna be a bumpy ride.

Too soon...?

Pizza Hut ran an ad for a holiday deal in their stores in Taiwan. That's fine, right? Unfortunately, the holiday in question was February 28th, a date which in 1947 marked a violent, bloody uprising leading to a decades-long period of fear and terror. The "White Terror" period was taboo up until as recently as 1995. Apparently, Pizza Hut didn't get the memo: in celebration of the "February 28th Incident" they launched a "killer" pizza deal (something about the deal being the most "killer" in history). And, um, it didn't go over well. Moral of the story: for the love of all that's holy, get to know your customers.

Hooked on sustainable seafood

...and just in time for Lent! McDonalds has launched new commercials and videos highlighting the sustainably-sourced fish in its Filet-O-Fish sandwich.The sandwich reaches peak sales every year during the Lenten season, when observant customers abstain from meat. Critics say McDonalds' noble claims aren't actually founded on truly sustainable practices. As an industry leader, McDonalds' commitment could help send a message regarding environmentally-minded food as a whole. But, with sustainability trending hard right now, it'll take some sifting to figure out what that term actually means - and who's actually practicing it.

Can't stop, won't stop

Taco Bell just unleashed a new mashup monstrosity, the new Doritos Quesalupa Crunch, upon select markets. It's just one of several limited-availability test subjects, which also include a Chicken Enchilada Burrito and a Caesar Crunchwrap. The chain's unapologetic franken-foods have met with success in the past - why stop when you're on a roll? You do you, Taco Bell.

Homework for the weekend:

Watch Sunshine Sento-Sake and follow the exploits of a distractable, hungry Tokyo salaryman in need of a relaxing bath. Stream it on Amazon Prime video. 

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