TIME food and drink

This Is The Most Surprising Thing About Bacon-Wrapped Pizza

Little Caesars Bacon Pizza
Tony Segielski—Little Caesars

It's not as bad for you as you might think

Little Caesars caused a storm last week when it unveiled its bacon-wrapped pizza, which is available starting Monday. But the pie might not be as bad for you as it seems—at least when it comes to calories.

A slice of Little Caesars’s culinary masterpiece/travesty reportedly has 450 calories. That’s actually fewer than what you’ll find in several popular fast food orders, like a McDonald’s Big Mac or a Taco Bell Crunchwrap Supreme.

In fact, it’s far from the most calorie-heavy dish that you’ll be able to find at popular fast food joints. Take, for example, Burger King’s 1,160-calorie Triple Whopper.

So if you’re craving a slice of bacon-wrapped goodness, here’s a calorie comparison with other fast food items that will make you feel a little less guilty:

But this isn’t to say that the bacon-wrapped pizza is healthy—that’s a whole other story.

 

TIME Food & Drink

Chipotle Not Worried That Your Burrito Is a Total Calorie Bomb

“People can pick and choose exactly what―and how much―they eat,” a spokesman says

Chipotle isn’t about to invest in skinny burritos.

A spokesman for the chain of Mexican restaurants on Thursday waved off a recent New York Times feature that examined the nutritional value of a typical meal at the fast-casual mainstay and found a meal can cost up to 1,070 calories.

Food is “something to be enjoyed,” spokesman Chris Arnold said. “Not a science experiment aimed at engineering away calories or grams of fat.”

“People can pick and choose exactly what―and how much―they eat,” Arnold added. “We let them put those ingredients together in whatever way makes sense to them.”

[Bloomberg]

TIME food and drink

Campbell Soup CEO Says Distrust of ‘Big Food’ a Growing Problem

Cans of Campbell's brand Chunky soups are seen at the Safeway store in Wheaton Maryland
Gary Cameron—Reuters Cans of Campbell's brand Chunky soups are seen at the Safeway store in Wheaton, Maryland Feb. 13, 2015

Campbell Soup CEO Denise Morrison said consumers don’t trust big food makers, and the company announced a $200 million a year cost-cutting program to help its sagging profit margins

Campbell Soup CEO Denise Morrison pointed to the growing skepticism of large food makers that has resulted from consumers’ changing tastes as a key challenge for her industry.

The company, whose portfolio of products ranges from V8 juice to Pepperidge Farm cake to its namesake soups, has found itself grappling with big changes in consumer behavior, in particular growing interest in fresh food and consumers much more keen to know what impact what they’re eating is having on their health and where it’s from.

On top of that has been a “mounting distrust of so-called Big Food, the large food companies and legacy brands on which millions of consumers have relied on for so long,” Campbell CEO Denise Morrison said on Wednesday at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York meeting in New York.

“Like other companies in our industry, we’re contending with now not just the long-term impact of the Great Recession on consumer purchasing behavior, or the increasingly complex public dialog when it comes to food, or the regulatory environment for food.” What’s more, the traditional avenue for selling Campbell’s products—grocery stores—are coming under a lot of pressure from alternative retailers she said.

Campbell recently lowered its full-year results forecast after only one quarter, suggesting it doesn’t expect much relief in the pressure on its profit margins anytime soon. In January, Campbell said it would re-organize its divisions according to product category, rather than by geographic region. It plans to eliminate some management layers as well. Campbell estimates its cost-cutting measures will save it $200 million a year.

Campbell is by no means the only food maker struggling to adapt to new consumer behavior. Last week, cereal maker Kellogg cut its long-term annual revenue growth estimate to a range of 1% to 3%, excluding some items, from an earlier forecast of 3% to 4%, citing poor cereal and snacks sales.

Morrison’s comments about adapting to changing consumer attitudes echoed those of a major competitor. “I don’t think Kraft has done as aggressive of a job in this regard as we need to,” said John Cahill, who in December became CEO of Kraft Foods, last week. He noted that Kraft has lost market share in 40% of its U.S. businesses in 2014. Also last week, ConAgra, the maker of Chef Boyardee, announced it was naming a new CEO—the ex chief at Hillshire Brands, Sean Connolly—and lowered its earnings guidance for the year ending in May.

All this turmoil is enough to give any food executive indigestion.

The article originally appeared on Fortune.com

TIME food and drink

How Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs Is Rebranding Vodka for Millennials

Sean Diddy Combs Celebrates New Years Eve in St Barths
Shareif Ziyadat—Getty Images Sean Diddy Combs celebrate with their Circle of Friends at CIROC NYE in St Barthes hosted by Sean Diddy Combs on Dec. 31, 2014 in Gustavia, St Barthelemy.

The rap star explains why his vodka brand is ubiquitous at luxury events

Attend any A-list event in New York this weekend—New York Fashion Week runway shows, NBA All Star Game parties—and you’ll see something familiar: a cylindrical column of vodka that has made its way to nearly every event dominated by tastemakers. That’s no accident. Under the tutelage of Sean “Diddy” Combs, who’s been a spokesperson for the vodka since 2009 and helped it go from 40,000 cases sold annually to 2 million, Diageo’s Ciroc DEO -1.21% has made it its mission to get in front of millennials and influencers who can help elevate the brand.

“We have been able to package the product and create a brand that people want to drink when they are celebrating with their circle of friends,” Combs said.

The brand is planning to introduce a new product later this year. “We have spent a great deal of time working with our master distiller to craft the first-ever sipping vodka,” Combs said.

Combs is making a major move into spirits. Earlier this year, he made the advertising executive Dia Simms the president of Combs Wine & Spirits (beyond Ciroc, he purchased DeLeón, a high-end tequila, last year). She’s looking to invest in more up and coming alcohol companies.

“I think the thing we’re looking for are great lifestyle brands with outstanding product credentials and an opportunity to market to our audience in a different way,” Simms said.

Who is that audience? “We speak a lot about a new America,” she said, “super diverse, extraordinarly digitally connected, a different level of ownership. One person can impact a company with the wrong posting, with a user review.”

To court the type of customers they want for Ciroc, it’s essential that it has a place under the tents of Fashion Week and in the flurry of events surrounding the All Star Game. “We love these cultural moments, these opportunities when those artists, those experts galvanize in one place,” Simms said. “It’s important for our brand to celebrate true artistry.”

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

TIME

Science Finally Determines How Many Licks it Takes to Get to the Center of a Tootsie Pop

Hint: it's not three

Scientists have finally answered one of humanities most pressing questions: how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie pop?

Turns out, it takes an estimated 1,000 licks to get to the center of a lollipop. In a study recently published in the Journal of Fluid Mechanics, researchers from New York University and Florida State University developed a theory for how flowing liquid dissolves and shrinks material which they then used to determine how long it would take to dissolve a lollipop. For Tootsie Rolls specifically, researchers told the New York Post, it’ll take about 2,500 licks. Go home, rest of the science world, there are no more questions left.

Though the lollipop finding is clearly the most pressing, the theory can also be used for important research in geology and pharmaceutical science, according to a report by Science Daily.

h/t NY Post

TIME food and drink

There’s Now an Onion That Doesn’t Make You Cry

*sheds tears of gratitude*

A U.K. supermarket operator claims it has introduced the ingredient that many home cooks have been longing for: a no-tears onion.

Asda’s website says the onion, called an Asda Sweet Red, has been selectively bred to have “lower pungency levels” than regular onions, meaning fewer tears will be shed when chopping and the odor won’t linger on your breath for quite as long.

The onion has been 20 years in the making and was developed by British farmer Alastair Findlay of agricultural co-operative Bedfordshire Growers.

Findlay tasted some 400 to 500 bulbs every season in order to select those with lower pungency. His colleagues are presumably glad that his experiments are now at an end.

MONEY food and drink

How Budweiser Upset Every Craft Beer Drinker and Brewer In America

Anheuser-Busch brewed some controversy with a Super Bowl ad that took shots at craft beer culture. Competitors are responding with spoof videos.

Correction: An earlier version of this video included footage erroneously implying that New Belgium Brewing Company is owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev. New Belgium Brewing is an independent, 100% employee-owned operation.

TIME food and drink

Why Chipotle’s CEO Is So Obsessed With Talking About Pigs

Chipotle Pork
David Paul Morris—© 2015 Bloomberg Finance LP Pedestrians enter a Chipotle Mexican Grill in Martinez, Calif., U.S., on Feb. 2, 2015.

A recent wrinkle over pork is just the latest trouble for Chipotle's bottom line

While most CEOs use their prepared remarks on earnings calls to go over the high points of the quarter or year, Chipotle co-CEO Steve Ells Tuesday spent the bulk of his talking about pigs.

In reporting fourth-quarter and full-year results, Ells laid out how the company had stopped selling carnitas in about a third of its locations last month after discovering that one of its suppliers wasn’t living up to the Mexican food chain’s animal welfare standards.

The company could have replaced the pigs with conventionally raised ones, but that would have meant the animals would likely have had no access to the outdoors or bedding, and would typically be given antibiotics to stimulate growth. “These conventional practices are unacceptable to us and we refuse to serve pork from animals raised in that manner,” he said.

Removing and disposing of the pork from its supply chain through donations and selling it at loss will cost about $2 million.

Read more at Fortune.com.

TIME food and drink

McDonald’s CEO Out as Burger Chain Loses Sizzle

Key Speakers At The Year Ahead: 2014 Conference
Daniel Acker—Bloomberg/Getty Images Don Thompson president and chief executive officer of McDonald's speaks at the Bloomberg Year Ahead: 2014 conference in Chicago, on Nov. 21, 2013.

Chief executive Don Thompson will retire, to be replaced by his chief brand manager

McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson finally ran out of time to fix the restaurant chain’s deepening problems.

The company said on Wednesday said Thompson would step down as CEO and board member on March 1, and be replaced by Steve Easterbrook, its chief brand officer who is responsible for fixing the fast-food operator’s marketing and menu. A longtime McDonald’s veteran, Easterbrook earlier in his career held big jobs including president of McDonald’s Europe.

The move comes a week after McDonald’s, the world’s biggest restaurant company, reported fourth-quarter and full-year results that made 2014 the first with a decline in same-store sales in a dozen years. It was also the fifth straight quarter of declining same-store sales in the United States, where it has lost many customers because of an overly complicated menu and changing tastes, and a defections to fast casual chains like Chipotle Mexican Grill.

McDonald’s is trying to quickly turn things around, aiming to simplify its menu and by unveiling a new marketing message centered around the word “love.” But Thompson, who became CEO in 2012, himself acknowledged last week that turning the company around would take time and said that he expected the volatility in McDonald’s results to continue in 2015. While Thompson inherited many problems when he took the helm, he has yet to change the company’s trajectory.

McDonald’s has had trouble weaning customers off of its inexpensive Dollar Menus, creating a chasm between its lower price items and its premium offerings while damaging the chain’s image, the company has acknowledged. As part of its turnaround efforts,McDonald’s is currently testing “Create Your Taste,” which let customers personalize their burger, a key part of fixingMcDonald’s image problem. But the company has its work cut out for it: a reader poll by product testing organization Consumer Reports released in July found McDonalds burgers ranked as the worst in the U.S.

In addition to Thompson’s departure, the company also announced that Chief Financial Officer Pete Bensen will take on the newly-created role of Chief Administrative Officer, overseeing functions that support operations.

In November, Fortune chronicled McDonald’s deep problems.

This article originally was originally published on Fortune.com

TIME Diet/Nutrition

Why Your Coffee Addiction Isn’t So Bad for You

Man on desk holding cup of coffee, close up
Getty Images

Go ahead and pour yourself another cup

Knocking back a daily cup of joe (or several) delivers more than a jolt of energy. That morning brew comes with a host of health benefits, according to research. Here’s how coffee can benefit your body and your brain.

1. Coffee may decrease your risk of depression. Drinking four or more cups per day could decrease the risk of depression in women, according to a study from the Harvard School of Public Health. The study examined the coffee habits and depression rates of 50,739 women over 10 years. Coffee drinkers had a 20 percent lower chance of developing depression later in life. Drinking two to four cups daily also appears to lower the risk of suicide by 50%, according to another Harvard study.

2. Coffee might help prevent skin cancer. Drinking four or more cups of coffee daily may lower your risk of cutaneous melanoma, the leading cause of skin-cancer death in the U.S., by 20 percent, according to a new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Researchers followed nearly 450,000 cancer-free participants over 10 years. Overall, those who drank more saw less cutaneous melanoma. Four daily cups of coffee can also reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, according to previous studies.

3. Smelling coffee can bust stress. When rats smelled coffee beans, genes connected with healthful antioxidants and stress-reduction were activated, according to researchers from Seoul National University in South Korea. No, you’re not a rat—even if you’re in the rat race—but the stress-busting benefits may be one reason your morning latte smells so delicious.

4. Coffee might help fight obesity. A compound found in coffee, chlorogenic acid (CGA), could help ward off obesity-related diseases, according to researchers at the University of Georgia. In a study of mice, CGA prevented weight gain, reduced inflammation, helped maintain normal blood-sugar levels, and kept livers healthy. Gradually increasing your coffee consumption can also lead to a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes, according to previous research.

5. Coffee may prevent Parkinson’s disease. Men who did not drink coffee were two to three times more likely to develop the disease than men who drank four ounces to four cups per day, according to a study published in Journal of the American Medical Association. Though there are treatments to slow the progression of Parkinson’s, which targets the body’s nervous system and causes tremors, there’s no cure, so prevention is key.

6. Coffee could boost your workout. Caffeine increases the number of fatty acids in the bloodstream, which raises overall endurance, because your body doesn’t have to burn carbs so fast, The New York Times reports. Weightlifters who drank caffeine before their workouts stayed energized longer than those who did not, according to another small study.

7. Coffee may help your hearing. Regularly consuming caffeine may help prevent tinnitus, a persistent ringing in the ear. Women who drank one and a half cups of coffee a day were 15% more likely to develop tinnitus than those who drank four to six cups, according to a study of 65,000 women published in the American Journal of Medicine.

8. Coffee could lead to a healthier liver. Drinking both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee may lower liver enzymes associated with inflammation, according to a 28,000-person study conducted by researchers at the National Cancer Institute. Participants who drank at least three cups of coffee per day showed lower levels of the potentially harmful enzymes than those who did not drink coffee.

9. Coffee might help you live longer. Drinking two to six (or more) cups of coffee per day could lower the risk of dying by 10 percent for men and 15 percent for women, according to a study of over 200,000 men and 170,000 women (ages 50 to 71) in The New England Journal of Medicine. (The data was adjusted to discount the effects of unhealthy habits, such as smoking, since regular coffee drinkers also tended to be regular drinkers and meat-eaters.)

This article originally appeared on RealSimple.com.

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