Brian Sheehan dishes on what's hot and trending in the world of all things food and drink for Monday, November 28, 2016.
Walmart Uses New Technology to Detect Unsafe Food on Shelves
Walmart is testing out technology that could change the future of how we detect foodborne illness and harmful bacteria in food. Blockchain is a database technology that monitors packaged food for unusual patterns. Using data from a digital receipt of the product, a single customer complaint can target the source of the issue by providing crucial information such as who supplied it, how and where the food was grown, and who inspected it, according to Detroit News. “It gives them an ability to have an accounting from origin to completion,” Marshal Cohen, an analyst at researcher NPD Group Inc., told Detroit News. “If there’s an issue with an outbreak of E. coli, this gives them an ability to immediately find where it came from. That’s the difference between days and minutes.” If tests of blockchain are successful, then Walmart will begin using the technology in more stores.
Germany-Based Company Uses Virtual Reality to Study the Perception of Taste
This year at the beverage trade show Brau Beviale in Germany, Döhler, one of the world’s leading producers and suppliers of natural ingredients in the food and beverage industry, used virtual reality to influence perceptions of taste. Döhler used the experience of drinking an herb soda as its primary taste test, Beverage Daily reported. Guests were allowed to drink an herb soda at the trade show, and then taste the soda again with a virtual reality experience. The virtual reality headset simulated a vista of the German Alps, while the headphones played sounds of birds chirping. The idea behind the experiment was that experiencing the same flavor in different settings can have an impact on the perception of taste. Subjects reported having a more positive and flavorful tasting experience with the virtual reality simulation than with the busy trade show. “When you are on holiday and you buy wine, then buy it [at] home, the wine tastes different,” Olaf Biedekarken, head of sensory and consumer science at Döhler, told Beverage Daily. “The effect is you are now not on holiday, you are stressed. What happens to the wine? It tastes different.”
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Mathematicians Are Working on the ‘Perfect’ Cup of Drip Coffee
Everyone’s “perfect” cup of coffee looks a little different, but five mathematicians are working to better understand what influences the final product to make the “perfect” cup of drip coffee. Their study will be published this week in the SIAM Journal of Applied Mathematics. "Our overall idea is to have a complete mathematical model of coffee brewing that you could use to design coffee machines, rather like we use a theory of fluid and solid mechanics to design racing cars," Dr. William T. Lee, one of the mathematicians involved in the study, told BBC. Going in with the knowledge that grinding beans too finely could result in over-extracted and bitter coffee, the study looked into the effect of coffee grain size and the final coffee product. It could be used to optimize coffee machines, from an industrial standpoint, for a certain size of grain.
Ludacris Opens ‘Chicken+Beer’ Restaurant at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport
Hip-hop artist, actor, and restaurateur Chris “Ludacris” Bridges has partnered with Jackmont Hospitality, Inc. to open a new restaurant, Chicken+Beer, in Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Inspired by his third album (called Chicken-n-Beer), Chicken+Beer is not only a place to enjoy a meal, but is also a business that speaks to minorities in the hospitality industry and empowers cultural and social landscapes. "For over 20 years, the Jackmont Hospitality name has been synonymous with delicious food, warm hospitality and a steadfast commitment to excellence,” Daniel Halpern, CEO and co-founder of Jackmont Hospitality Inc., said in a press release. “Chris is the quintessential advocate for Atlanta's rich culture and together we aim to introduce Chicken+Beer as a reflection of the city's character." Ludacris opened his first restaurant, Straits Atlanta, in 2012; however, the rapper closed this Asian-infusion place, Eater reported, so he could focus on Chicken+Beer.