Once upon a time, I patiently awaited my favorite snack. I tended the angle of the oven. I watched as the smallest bubbles appeared in the small pot of water. And I waited. Waited. Waited. I, Mini Master Chef Christine, made the longest-cooked 3-minute eggs on earth in my very own solar oven. Sure, the eggs always came out closer to raw than the desired soft-boiled. But I did it myself.
Now Pinterest is full of plans for a better oven. Back then I had foil, boxes, a bright sun and a big, positive attitude. I never advanced to fried or scrambled.
The idea of making your own, from scratch, for health, for craft, for getting back to the way grandma did it, has grown to become hip today. In the July 2015 issue, we explore this DIY movement and what it means at retail.
These makers take many forms. Some are like my mother-in-law, foraging backyard apple, cherry and peach trees to preserve all she can. Or, like she also does, some eagerly await harvest to visit the local farm to capture the perfect pickling cucumber. Others take my mother’s route and enjoy blending their own home remedies, tinctures and aromatherapy treatments. They keep chickens like my neighbor does, brew kombucha like my carpool companion and go fully homestead like my fellow downtown community member, one of three Mother Earth News 2014 Homesteaders of the Year.
This DIY ethos is making waves in our overly techy-fied world. Will a fundamental shift occur? We’ll see, especially as tech joins the movement with indoor garden towers and other fascinating “appliances” making their way to common kitchens.
One food shift we know has occurred: the role of the snack in our daily lives. A snack once meant a little something after school or as an afternoon pick-me-up at the office. Today we graze. A little bit of something all day.
While top-selling snacks don’t have the brightest health halo, thankfully Americans intend (at least) to improve upon their choices.
“(Snack) demand is driven primarily by taste and health considerations and consumers are not willing to compromise on either,” said Susan Dunn, executive vice president, Global Professional Services, Nielsen.
“Non-sugary snacks closely aligned with meal-replacement foods are showing strong growth, which signals a shift in a consumer mindset to one focused on health. While conventional cookies, cakes and confections categories still hold the majority of snack sales, more innovation in the healthy snacking and portable food space is necessary to adjust to this changing dynamic.”
A better selection at the local health food store could be a connection to inviting new customers through the doors and, eventually, broadening the way they connect food and health.
In this issue, we have a special guide to the latest better-for-you selections to share with your morning snackers, afternoon-boost seekers and party-snack poppers.
Enjoy reading this edition, with a healthy treat from the garden or the snack aisle.