Weekend Bites

by Matt on September 15, 2006

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Salt of the Earth: The American Medical Association is going after the food industry and the government  over  sodium levels in packaged food. I applaud this effort, even if it does force me to look at my salt consumption. As Salt Geek Numero Uno this is not fun but at least I tend to stay away from processed foods.  My problem is adding it afterwards, and with all the choices available today it’s hard to say no.  At least I have normal blood pressure – for now.

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Rolling up the sleeves: Did Tesco actually trade mark “wholefoods” in the UK as an effort to head them off at the pass? My inside Whole Foods source says “rubbish” and their megastore is still opening on time, but with organics being the business it is it surely wouldn’t surprise me.

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Speaking of too much sodium: I am sorry if I offend the unnamed PR company that sent this to me even though I really dig my contact there, but I do not suggest eating Hamburger Helper on a regular basis*. Having said that I felt inclined to mention a rather nice effort they have dreamed up called My Hometown Helper.com.  Write an essay and if selected they’ll help you and your group by donating computers , money for school trips, repair school equipment, fund clean up projects, etc. Just make sure you’re writing on behalf of a 501-c non-profit group.

*I do believe I need to post my mom’s homemade picadillo version of Hamburger Helper we ate growing up. It’s the one that’s not 2030mg of sodium per serving.

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Putting your money where, oh jeez, you know the rest: I am in the grocery biz, so it’s no surprise that I read a stack of trade publications and articles each week. This one in Business Week (registration required) surprised me, as it states the numbers at Safeway are swinging in the right direction after a multi-million dollar effort to remodel, rebrand, and re-advertise a healthier, cleaner image (known as the lifestyle concept).  I imagine the most difficult thing would be changing the corporate culture within– traditional grocery folks are not the most enlightened group of people, and I’m not afraid to say it. Besides, with Whole Foods all around the country, your template has already been created for you.

I’m sorry to say this, but I thought it was a cheap shot when I first saw some signage in the Safeway in San Francisco that used a font created specifically for Whole Foods. Yes, imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, but designers, c’mon! And I only say this because I created the graphic standards for Whole Foods years ago.

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Polaroids

Gracias a todos:  Thanks to everyone who emailed me with South America info. The trip isn’t until the beginning of next year but I always like to plan early. 

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I hate this part: I am extremely reticent about this ‘lil posting, but some events lately have made it so:  I am unable to help with your websites, to design something for free of charge, or to lend my photographs or graphics for free.  It’s a lesson that has been extremely painful for me to learn but at this point I am saying no. I just hate to come off sounding snippy, so please forgive me.

However, if you’d like to trade services I’m completely open, or if you are a part of any non-profit group, agency or start-up that directly benefits people through food education or assistance than I am your man!

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Appearantly: See me? I’m jumping up and down a little. Why? Pears. Fall pears. All sorts of gorgeous little pears are starting to show up. And in the next few weeks I’ll be going absolutely bonkers. And yes, I plan on sharing that with you, no matter how foolish I look. Hey, I’m used to it.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

kit September 15, 2006 at 9:08 am

Since I don’t want to steal your graphics, is the following an acceptable use of them? I only want to have something visual to supplement my link to your site:

http://www.kit-is.com/kitchen/archives/2006/09/15_matt_bites.php
If you wish me to remove the image, please let me know.

matt September 15, 2006 at 9:11 am

Oh my goodness Kit, that is so very kind and thoughtful to ask. I appreciate it!

Any linking and graphic use like that is totally fine with me, in fact I’m totally flattered!

You get a giant hug for asking :)

Jennifer Jeffrey September 15, 2006 at 9:31 am

On the grocery thread – while I acknowledge Safeway’s alleged move towards the “healthier” side of the spectrum, I’m having trouble swallowing it. When I walk into my local newly remodeled Safeway, it seems to me like I’m walking into Prepared Food Disneyland.

Their in-house branded products have sweet scenes on the labels, but the same old crap inside. The lighting is moody and dim, and there’s this “rustic” vibe, but the tiny island of organic produce is wilted and old, clearly purchased days and days ago. The huge endcaps of sodas and chips and sugar cereals tower over everything.

Yes, I’ve seen a few of the “O” products, but it just isn’t compelling. Am I missing something?

nika September 16, 2006 at 8:52 am

no amount of fontage and signage is going to make Safeway feel like or be Whole Foods!

I am sure I would recognize the WF font when I saw it (I have enough of their grocery bags to wallpaper all 16 acres of our land it seems) but for me the ambiance goes way beyond packaging. Maybe this is because when I am at WFs I tend to bypass the center of the store and stick to the margins where all the fresh stuff is!

My heart rate jumps when I walk in the door because I know that the cheese department is waiting for me! Its is NEVER like that at Stop and Shop, ever.

Charmaine September 29, 2006 at 6:37 am

Oh! I thought you were already there. My husband and I will be in Bs.As. and Southern Argentina the first 2 weeks of January. When are you going?

Kate October 9, 2006 at 5:47 pm

Sorry so late on this post, Matt — I’m catching up tonight. I just want to add that MANY stores have adopted the WF type and graphic feel that you set down years ago. I noticed Walmart down here in FLA looks extra “fresh” with their green logo and as do a number of big-name stores up north. One the bright side, there is a little touch of you everywhere. :)

Kate October 9, 2006 at 5:47 pm

Sorry so late on this post, Matt — I’m catching up tonight. I just want to add that MANY stores have adopted the WF type and graphic feel that you set down years ago. I noticed Walmart down here in FLA looks extra “fresh” with their green logo and as do a number of big-name stores up north. One the bright side, there is a little touch of you everywhere. :)

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