Wine for Babies

By Maria Laposata

Coke flavored wine? That sounds…tasty, actually. That’s what the Haussmann Famille thought when they introduced Rouge Sucette. It’s 75% wine, only 9% alcohol, and the rest is water, sugar, and–aw yeah–cola flavor.


Personally, the prospect of Rouge Sucette is quite exciting to this devoted $3 Trader Joe’s wine aficionado as it presents a fantastic opportunity to no longer sound like an idiot when I’m talking about wine. Finally I can abandon all of this nonsense about “oakiness.” Now I can say, “It tastes like coke.” Ah simplicity!

One might imagine in a country where 2 liter bottles of soda are considered a single serving, that this wine was born and bred in the good ole US of A. Nope! In fact, low and behold, France is the culprit.

You heard me: France.

Of course, French wine makers have a very serious reason for risking the pretentious wrath of food and wine connoisseurs: a 50% decrease in wine sales since 1960.

While sales of hard liquors and beer have increased ever-so-slightly in France, the consumption of wine has fallen and fallen and fallen. In fact, us jolly Americans are about to exceed the French in total wine consumption.

That’s right France. We’re drunker than you. Take that.

ImageThe new product comes at a time of alcoholic turmoil in France. The government is considering raising the drinking age from 16 to 18 (WHAT? You can drink legally at 16 in France?!), wants to ban high school all-night, all-you-can-drink open bars (again, WHAT?!), and is seeking to double fines against vendors who break the new laws (OK, that one makes sense). This is all in response to a 50% increase in hospitalizations for minors babies under 15 for drunkenness since 2009. Needless to say, anyone who has anything to do with selling alcohol in France is doing a nervous need-to-pee dance.


So as the government tries to get children to drink less, alcohol vendors are looking for ways to keep them swirling, sniffing, sipping, and spitting (except, apparently not that last part) for fear of losing the youth market entirely. And so was spawned Rouge Sucette. (By the way, that means “red lollipop.”) Not only is it tasty enough to keep the kids drinking, it also sells for a price most allowances could manage: $3.80.

Well, well, well, Trader Joe’s. Looks like you really do have some competition.



DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here:


Mayor Bloomberg’s New York City Soda Ban Overturned!

New York City’s now infamous soda ban has raised a lot of important questions and become one of the most polarizing topics of 2012. Mayor Bloomberg’s ruling was set to take effect on March 12th, until Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Milton Tingling overturned the ruling. The beverage industry, small businesses and several interest groups rallied together to sue and keep the city from enforcing the drink regulation while the case was deliberated on. At last, Judge Tingling declared that “The loopholes in this rule effectively defeat the stated purpose of this rule.”

Mayor Bloomberg and city officials felt that the soda ban was a huge move for public health, aiming to lower obesity rates and thus decrease obesity-related illness costs by close to $2.8 billion annually in New York City. The soda ban was only the latest of Bloomberg’s motions to create a healthier New York. In previous years he compelled restaurant chains to post calorie counts on their menus, banned artificial trans fats from restaurant food, and even limited the amount of salt food manufacturers would use.

Supporters of the Mayor’s health initiatives make the case that sugary drinks are clearly tied to weight gain, and now nearly 24 percent of the city’s adults are obese, up from 18 percent in 2002. City lawyer Mark W. Muschenheim said the soda ban will “have significant public health effects, and the sooner that happens, the better.”

However critics of the soda ban have been far more outspoken, calling it arbitrary in that it applies to only some sugary beverages and allows other beverages to be sold only in certain stores. Critics also stated that the City Board of Health went beyond its jurisdiction in approving this size limit rule. The elected City Council did not preside over the initial ruling, instead a panel of doctors and health professional appointment by Bloomberg approved the soda ban.

While meant to curb obesity, the soda ban would hurt many businesses that relied on beverage sales and would have to retool their menus and change inventory with no compensation, while other established businesses like grocery stores would be allowed to carry on selling large sugary beverages.

Although Bloomberg’s health initiatives may have hit their first real hitch, the Mayor seems unfazed by the judge’s ruling. Shortly afterward he tweeted “We plan to appeal the sugary drinks decision as soon as possible, and we are confident the measure will ultimately be upheld.”

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here:


Restaurant and Soda Industry File Lawsuit Against Soda Ban

After Mayor Bloomberg passed New York’s now infamous soda ban a few weeks ago, many groups are rallying together to overturn this legislation and allow consumers to purchase sugary beverages in whatever size they wish. These interest groups have decided to suet block the city’s restriction on large sugary beverages, calling the ban unfair and undemocratic. The groups involved in this lawsuit include the American Beverage Association, the National Restaurant Association, a soft drink workers union and many smaller groups including movie theater owners and grocers.

“For the first time, they’re telling New Yorkers how much of certain safe and lawful beverages they can drink,” said Caroline Starke, a representative for the groups that are lacing the lawsuit. The groups have particularly taken offense that the city made this decision through an unelected board.

However advocated for the soda ban feel that this lawsuit is a hindrance to a groundbreaking policy in New York. Mayor Bloomberg has referred to the legislation as a reasonable way to fight an obesity problem that takes a toll on the health of many New Yorkers and the budgets at many city hospitals.

“This predictable, yet baseless, lawsuit fortunately will help put an even greater spotlight on the obesity epidemic,” said city spokesman Marc LaVorgna. LaVorgna also noted that previous lawsuits for smoking in bars and offices and forcing fast-food restaurants to list calories on their menus failed to overturn decisions made by the city.

The soda ban effectively stops restaurants, cafeterias and concession stands from selling soda or other high calorie drinks in servings larger than 16 ounces. Ideally this measure will prevent people from consuming extra calories; if a person changes from consuming a 20 ounce Coca-Cola to a 16 ounce one, that person will trim 14,600 calories in a year. The rule will still allow customers to purchase an additional 16 ounce soda if they choose.

Although Bloomberg’s board may feel they are making these changes in the best interest of the city, many New Yorkers feel the city is becoming a nanny-state, with a New York Times poll in August showing that six in ten New Yorkers oppose the new rule. Manufacturers will have to get new bottles, and eateries may lose sales to businesses that aren’t restricted by the rule. Convenience stores are not affected by Boomberg’s soda ban, meaning a customer could skip a 20 ounce soda at a deli to purchase a Big Gulp at a 7-Eleven.

The lawsuit claims that the city is unfairly targeting small businesses that cannot afford to make the changes that will be required, and the Bloomberg-appointed health board should not be allowed to dictate the size of soft drinks. The city still maintains that the board, made up of physicians and other health experts is exactly the board to decide on this matter.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here:


Soda vending Machines will Display Calories Information

Following New York City’s soda ban, beverage companies are scrambling to protect themselves before similar measure are taken across the country. Now Coke, Pepsi and Dr. Pepper are introducing new vending machines that will display the calorie content of their drinks, to be released in Chicago and San Antonio in 2013 and rolling out on a national level soon after.

The American Beverage Association will oversee these new machines, and aims to raise awareness for health concerns about sugary beverages by displaying messages such as “Try a Low-Calorie Beverage.” The machines will also increase the availability of low-calories drinks, and will feature calories information for each choice of beverage. The average 12-ounce can of regular soda has 140 calories and 40 gram of high-fructose corn syrup. Diet sodas are typically sweetened with artificial sweeteners like aspartame, and contain zero calories.

After New York City approved a ban to prohibit the sale of sugary drinks of 16 ounces in the city’s restaurants, movie theaters and stadiums, many soda producers are wondering whether the label on the back of a soda bottle is enough warning to consumers. However the beverage industry still does not support this measure, saying that the soda ban eliminates the customer’s personal choice.

Overall soft drink consumption in the U.S. has been steadily declining since 1998, and soft drink producers have to deal with changing consumer habits. This decline is most likely due to increased beverage options, like flavored waters, sports drinks and even new powder-based products. Coca-Cola is set to release Dasani Drops soon as a portable flavor-enhancer to combine with water and create a personalized beverage. In addition to new products, soda manufacturers will be developing more diet options to steer consumers away from their high-calorie products.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here:


Research Shows Sugary Drinks Directly Contribute to Obesity

The relationship between sugary beverages and obesity has been hotly contested over the past few months as new policies have been put into effect to decrease the consumption of these beverages. Now a decades-long study published by the New England Journal of Medicine, involving over 33,000 Americans has finally been released, asserting that soda and other sugary beverages actually have a profound effect on obesity.

The results of this study show that drinking sugary beverages does in fact interact with the genes that affect weight, and increase the likelihood of obesity from heredity alone. For people with genes with a high risk factor for obesity (most people have at least a few of these genes), sugary beverages can be especially harmful. The study also strongly suggested that sugary drinks cause people to gain weight independently of other unhealthy behaviors like overeating and lack of exercise.

Previously experiments have been inconclusive in determining the effects of sugary beverages. In one of the new studies research randomly assigned over 200 obese or overweight high schoolers in Boston to receive shipments every two weeks of either sugary drinks or their sugar-free alternatives. The kids were aware of the beverages they were drinking, and made no efforts to curb their eating or exercise schedules. The results showed that after one year the sugar-free group weighed four pounds less on average than the group which continued drinking sugary beverages.

This directly demonstrated that sugar-free drinks do lead to less weight gain, and people can satisfy their cravings for sugary beverages with these substitutes. A second study in the Netherlands involved 641 normal-weight children between the ages of 4 and 12, who regularly drank sugary beverages. The children were randomly assigned sugary or sugar-free beverages at school, and were not told what kind of beverage they were drinking. After eighteen months the sugary-drink group weighed two pounds more on average than the other group.

The American Beverage Association was not so easily convinced by the findings of these studies. “Obesity is not uniquely caused by any single food or beverage,” it commented in a statement. “Studies and opinion pieces that focus solely on sugar-sweetened beverages, or any other single source of calories, do nothing meaningful to help address this serious issue.”

Since the 1970’s consumption of sugary beverages in the U.S. have more than doubled, same as the U.S. obesity rates. Sugary drinks are currently the biggest source of calories in the American diet, and they may be accountable for the obesity epidemic that affects a third of U.S. children and over two-thirds of adults.

“I know of no other single food product whose elimination can produce this degree of weight change,” said the study’s leader, Dr. David Ludwig of Boston Children’s Hospital and the Harvard School of Public Health.

In the wake of Mayor Bloomberg’s soda ban in New York City, evidence like this will undoubtedly affect how other cities choose to address this obesity problem.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here:


Soda Companies Fight Back Against Bloomberg’s Ban

Several weeks ago we discussed Mayor Bloomberg’s proposed New York City soda ban that would restrict New Yorkers from purchasing large quantities of soda in an effort to create a healthier city. Now the large soda companies are fighting back, launching a campaign to combat Mayor Bloomberg’s proposed ban.

The ban’s opponents have created a coalition called New Yorkers for Beverage Choices, and they are meeting with members of the City Council and several other city officials. Lobbyists from these companies, including Coca-Cola have hired people to canvass and ask for signatures on the street, as well as spread the message through social media.

In addition a new radio advertisement paid for the by the American Beverage Association features authentic New Yorkers complaining about Bloomberg’s proposed nanny state. The narrator of the advertisement says, “This is New York City; no one tells us what neighborhood to live in or what team to root for. So are we going to let our mayor tell us what size beverage to buy?”

Ultimately the decision of whether or not to pass Mayor Bloomberg’s soda ban will be up to the New York City Board of Health, who have been mostly selected by the mayor himself. On July 24th a public hearing will be held, and afterwards the Board of Health will decide whether to approve the soda ban or not.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here:


Food Assistance Programs Get Healthier

As local governments move to combat obesity and promote healthy eating, food stamps, or SNAP benefits are one of the easiest ways the government can regulate junk food consumption. Ultimately SNAP benefits are given to people with low-incomes, among whom obesity, diabetes and other life-threatening conditions are more prevalent. SNAP benefits are provided through cards that look like ordinary credit cards, and are often used to purchase food with no nutritional value, like chips, candy, cookies and sugary soda.

Now health experts and lawmakers are considering that SNAP benefits should come with some strings attached, to ensure that they are spent in the most beneficial way. Many fiscal conservatives and liberal health officials support amending SNAP benefits, while the food industry, anti-regulation conservatives and liberal advocates for the poor oppose restricting the individual choice of what people should eat.

The food industry in particular could have a lot to lose if these restrictions pass, as junk food provides them with huge profits. The food industry proposes educating low-income households on proper nutrition and the risks associated with excess junk food.

A larger problem at hand is that many low-income households are located in “food deserts” where access to fresh produce and even groceries is extremely difficult. In these areas many people rely on convenience stores or fast food options, but supporters of SNAP restrictions claim that these stores will start stocking more nutritious alternatives if their customers have no other options for what to purchase.

Several precedents to these proposed restrictions have already passed. Mayor Bloomberg has worked to ban saturated fats, post restaurant nutritional information, and is currently seeking to ban the purchase of large quantities of soda. The Women, Infants and Children program includes many restrictions on what food products their clients purchase with their benefits. The food they purchase must have nutritional value, and markets already are educated as to what those items are.

SNAP benefits and other forms of food assistance are crucial for millions of Americans, but as obesity rates continue to climb legislators are looking for any possible way to promote healthier lifestyles. Though no official laws have been drafted, SNAP benefits will most likely become far more regulated.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here:


Bloomberg’s Soda Ban Put Into Perspective

Mayor Bloomberg recently announced his latest crusade in the war against fat by proposing to ban all large servings of soft drinks. This proposal has been met with a variety of backlash from newspapers, politicians, comedians and many more critics. The ultimate question however remains, what will be the ultimate effect of this proposal and will it actually increase healthy consumption habits?

One of the first things noticed about this proposal are all the loopholes people can use to still consume as much sugar as they wish. Consumers can still get refills at fast food restaurants, and they can still consume many other sugary beverages like milkshakes, sweetened juices and alcoholic beverages. Mayor Bloomberg has tried similar initiatives in the past, such as the required calorie counts on restaurant menus. However it seems like the mayor has learned little from his past mistakes.

Chain restaurants like McDonald’s are mandated to tell consumers how many calories are on each item in their menus, but local delis and restaurants have no obligation to do this, once again creating a loophole in Bloomberg’s plan. With so many ways to get around Bloomberg’s policies, a careful analysis of what the actual goals are of Bloomberg’s war on fat is needed. Health costs have gotten much higher in recent years due to rising obesity; however it is unprecedented for the government to limit what Americans can and cannot eat. Some of the strongest backlash to Mayor Bloomberg’s policies has criticized the mayor for abusing his power; if food regulations start with soda, where will they end? Will we soon be regulated into eating certain size portions of ‘healthy food’ for the rest of our lives?

Large soft drinks can still be purchased at grocery stores and drug stores, simply making it less convenient for customers to consume large quantities of soda. Since the mayor cannot hope to actually regulate how much soda people consume, the major goal of this initiative is to raise awareness and create a buzz about the health risks associated with these sugary beverages. Raising awareness and enacting a law are two very different things, and the mayor needs to realize that he cannot force people to change their eating habits.

In dealing with America’s obesity epidemic government policy needs to examine the big picture. Making our decisions for us will not yield greater long term results, but most likely frustration at the government. Has Mayor Bloomberg heard of the Prohibition in the early 20th century? Changes need to be made that will affect people’s behavior and views towards nutrition. Access to healthy and fresh foods might expose consumers to more culinary options and an emphasis on physical education in schools might encourage healthier habits. Rising costs in agriculture make unhealthy food more affordable, and current health insurance policies help the ill but do little to prevent illness. While Mayor Bloomberg alone cannot curb unhealthy eating, a look at all the factors at play might make his next set of policies more effective.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: