Press Cuttings: March 2019

4 April, 2019

Recent snippets of significance from the Press

Firstly, a few articles from the Financial Times:

New Sensations
A revelatory article exploring the little understood condition of ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response)  – the tingling sensation some people get in their scalp, neck, throat and spine when exposed to certain visual and auditory cues. Apparently there’s now over 13 million videos uploaded to You Tube specifically designed to trigger ASMR – including many that involve watching people prepare and eat food. Even global fast food chain KFC is getting in on the act – it has just launched a U.K. website called KFChill, devoted to the relaxing sounds of frying chicken, sizzling bacon and simmering gravy.

Surveillance State
This piece on Google subsidiary Sidewalk Labs’ proposed prototype smart city, which is set to take shape on 12 acre stretch of waterfront wasteland in Toronto, is a fascinating read and a disturbing glimpse into the surveillance state of the future…

Dark Kitchens
The past few years has seen the proliferation of so-called dark kitchens, stand-alone commercial kitchens designed to cater to the ever-growing take-away and home-delivery markets. Although the end product that usually comes out of these kitchens is perfectly acceptable, and often not too far distant from actual restaurant quality food, in this article, Tim Hayward proposes that there is a dark side to these dark kitchens and believes that they may actually be leading to the de-skilling of craft cooks and leading to the demise of real kitchens serving real restaurants. As Hayward puts it…where’s the love and old-fashioned sense of hospitality in a purpose-built kitchen in a parking lot that has no direct connection with the diner?

And a few from elsewhere:

The Vegan Revolution
The New Statesman has an article reporting on the rise and rise of veganism, and the multi-million pound industry that has built up around this. Working in the food industry it’s a trend that I’ve seen gain much traction over the last few years, to the point that it’s now longer just a niche dietary fad, but a movement that’s entered the mainstream and now has the potential to bring about an industry-wide sea change.

Dietary Dilemmas
Is our modern diet slowly killing us? Food for thought here with this article in The Guardian that takes an in-depth look at the modern foods that are now at the heart of most our diets, and how many have been bred and developed to match our palates – and may be less healthy as a result. As it points out the world is producing and consuming more food than ever, and for most people across the world life is getting better, but diets are actually getting worse as the availability and marketing of energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods has continued to increase. This author of this article, Bee Wilson has a book out The Way We Eat Now (published by 4th Estate) which delves even further into this interesting and yet worrying issue.

Feel-good Food
Wilson also has another piece in The Wall Street Journal that takes a look at the increasing number of companies that offer DNA testing to optimise body health by tailoring diets to individual needs. This may be a draw for some people, however as she points out, the idea of food as medicine is nothing new – in fact the Chinese have long been eating a diet based around the philosophy that cooking good food every day is fundamental to continued good health – something the West is slowly waking up to.