Gourmet Food Trucks in Walnut Creek?

Here is a post from Russ:
Each Saturday for the past couple of weeks Rosemary and I have noticed a catering truck at a gas station on the corner of Ygnacio Valley Rd. and Civic in Walnut Creek, CA. As we drove by, we noticed a long line of customers!! As a recent adventurer into the world of gourmet food trucks with the SPI Group team in Berkeley, we were compelled to check it out and were pleasantly surprised by an absolutely delicious Banh Mi sandwich. We split a grilled pork Banh Mi and the thing that hit us was how fresh and original the flavor was… Our server, Antany Khamphey was good enough to have his photo taken and told us about the Banh Mi combining the grilled pork with a sweet honey glaze (thit nuong), cilantro,shredded sweet and tangy carrots and daikon radish(do chua),thin cucumber slices and sliced jalapenos with a light mayonnaise spread on a fresh baguette! We smothered ours with a sweet chili sauce. It was a delight!! I am really becoming a fan of gourmet food trucks and Nom Nom’s is my top choice and was highly rated on a recent Gourmet Food Truck survey. Follow them on Twitter to see when they might be in you neighborhood!

SPI Gives Back to our Community

As part of our sales team meeting this summer, SPI Group spent time working at our local food bank. We were happy to help Alameda County Community Food Bank in their mission to alleviate hunger by providing nutritious food and nutrition education to people in need, educating the public, and promoting public policies that address hunger and its root causes.

With high unemployment rates in the state, and rising food costs, the food bank is helping more people than ever. Recent numbers indicate that 1 in 6 people take help from the foodbank. The food bank feeds about 49,000 people in Alameda County a week.
Working with the other volunteers was the fun part of our day, as we bagged produce along side students from a middle school and other volunteers.
We were impressed with the tour of the facility, very modern – and their impressive volunteer leaders who guided us in a very orderly fashion!

SPI is proud to support the community we live and work in!

New Requirements for Whole Grains in Schools: What it means to school food service providers

There have been some questions around what the changes are in School Food Service in regards to whole grain and how we as food manufacturers are supposed to be in compliance. Below are a few highlights and some links courtesy of the Whole Grains Council.
Changes to nutrition requirements for school operators:
• July 1, 2012 schools must provide half of their lunch grain portions as “whole grain-rich”
• July 1, 2013 schools must provide half of their breakfast grain portions as “whole grain-rich”
• July 1, 2014 schools must provide ALL grain portions as “whole grain-rich”
• “Whole grain-rich” means 51% or more of the grain in the food is from whole grain ingredients

So the question from most people is: how are operators and food manufacturers supposed to know they are meeting the “whole grain-rich” target? Well the USDA has provided some guidelines of course. This is based on serving size, which has changed from 14.5 grams to 16 grams, the type of food product – whole meal, side, main entrée, dessert, snack etc, and the grain equivalent of that food.

Check out a few references on this topic:
USDA Memo
Whole Grains Council Summary Clif Notes version

Why does the SPI Group Scoop care?
1. Our toolbox of solutions includes whole grains. We can help you meet these requirements with whole grain oats, rice, barley and wheat.
2. Our toolbox has solutions to help you when you find economics or eating quality has not gone as planned with the ingredient change. Our whole grain rice flour Pac Gel can replace gum or modified starch. Our Solec soy lecithins can provide lubricity to prevent sticking; our Vitacel fiber products can even out your moisture levels.

We have some tools the food product developer needs to continue to meet our changing and challenging environment.

July Field Trip – Food Truck Trend Research

If you are a regular with the SPI Group Scoop, then you know I posted about food trucks and trends in March. That was based on someone, smart and into the trend thing, else’s digested information put into powerpoint. The Scoop Group at SPI has made our inaugural food truck tour for our own primary market research at the brand new Off The Grid in Berkeley.

Below are the favorites:

Claudio
Dish: Peruvian Chicharron
Truck: Sanguchon

Kathy
Dish: Duck Taco
Truck: Kung Fu Taco

Don
Dish: Baked Pork Belly Banh Mi (bun) with spiced carrots & vegetables
Erin
Dish: Baked Pork Belly Banh Mi (bun) with spiced carrots & vegetables
Russ
Dish: Steamed Pork Belly Banh Mi (bun) with spiced carrots & vegetables
Truck: The Chairman
**The Chairman Truck (formerly known as Chairman Bao) properly has 3 votes from the Scoop Group. They were rated #5 in the Best Bay Area Food Trucks by Zagat’s

David
Dish: Spare Rib
Truck: Rib Whip

Tim
Dish: Hamburger with the Works, White Cheddar & Fried Egg
Truck: fiveten burger
Don’t worry Tim!! fiveten was rated #3 in the Best Bay Area Food Trucks by Zagat’s

So, what’s the trend? MEAT is not dead. You can still get it on every dish! Other trends? Small portions and moderation!!! Bike, jog or walk to the food trucks, you don’t have to eat like this every day!