Brian Sheehan dishes on what's hot and trending in the world of all things food and drink for Friday, September 30, 2016.
Fast-Casual Sandwich Chain Così Files for Bankruptcy
Così — the national fast-casual lunch and catering chain — has announced that it is filing for bankruptcy, according to Nation’s Restaurant News. It has already closed 40 percent of its company-owned stores — 29 in all — and will be putting the rest up for sale. Così was once known as a major competitor to chains like Panera Bread and Pret a Manger. The company's 31 franchisee-owned units will be unaffected by the bankruptcy filing.
Will Maine Lobsters Be the Next Victims of Climate Change?
The latest victim of rising global temperatures is the Maine lobster. New England scientists from the University of Maine Darling Marine Center and Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences have found that baby lobsters struggle to survive when placed in temperatures a mere 5 degrees higher than the usual cold waters off the coast of Maine. High temperatures actually help the baby lobsters develop faster, but despite this fact, they will often die off more quickly than when in cold waters. The effect is already being felt in southern New England where, off the coast of Cape Cod, the lobster haul fell to 3.3 million pounds in 2013 from its peak at 22 million pounds in 1997, according to Nature World News. The study is considered to be very important as scientists start to understand the effect of shifting ocean temperatures and chemistry, as well as rapid climate change.
New Burger King Campaign Raises Awareness for World Literacy Month
Earlier this month, Burger King conducted a social experiment in which drive-thru customers pulled up to see that the normal menu was replaced with one featuring garbled text. It was later revealed that the fast-food chain did the experiment as a way to raise awareness for World Literacy Month, which has been going on for the month of September. According to the World Literacy Foundation, one in five people — that’s 20 percent of the global population — cannot read or write. World Literacy Month is particularly important for Burger King to promote because its own McLamore Foundation, established by the company’s co-founder James McLamore, is a public nonprofit that focuses on “scholarships, literacy, and creating sustainable learning environments.”
Multi-State E. Coli Outbreak Traced Back to Massachusetts Slaughterhouse
Adams Farm Slaughterhouse in Athol, Massachusetts, has issued a voluntary recall of select beef, veal, and bison products because of a possible E. coli contamination. Seven people from West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Massachusetts contracted E. coli between June 27 and Sept. 4, as a result of consuming the recalled products, CNN reported. None have died, but five have been hospitalized. In the ongoing investigation of the outbreak, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Agriculture traced the outbreak back to the Adams Farm Slaughterhouse. The USDA urges people to throw out the recalled meat or return the products to the place of purchase.
Halfpops Calls Upon Coders in Preparation for the Robot Apocalypse
With the countless snacking options available to consumers in this day and age, how does a new, small brand stand out? Halfpops, maker of “curiously crunchy” half-popped popcorn, released a video last month featuring a panicked narrator who was convinced that robots were going to take over the world. He called upon “code ninjas” for help: coders that apparently speak the language of these robots. In return, Halfpops would bring the snacks. The company delivered 500 limited-edition boxes of its “Halfpocalypse” popcorn to those who successfully completed its coding challenge and promised to “protect Halfpops' peeps in the event of catastrophe,” Adweek detailed. “Since the brand itself is irreverent and playful, we wanted to do something that would be bold and a little bit ridiculous,” said Mike Watts, VP of marketing for Halfpops. “We're a small brand trying to make a big splash.”