What we’ll be eating in 2021, according to robots, carob set for a comeback


BOULDER, COLO. — Copaiba may be the next cannabidiol — without the regulatory baggage, said food trends forecaster Elizabeth Moskow. Derived from the resin of the Copaifera tree and featuring an earthy, woodsy flavor, copaiba is an essential oil that shares similar properties to C.B.D. It is seen as a remedy for inflammation, chronic pain and anxiety, and, as Ms. Moskow pointed out, “it’s completely legal.”

“We think we’ll see copaiba as a competitor to C.B.D. in food and beverage products,” Ms. Moskow told Food Business News.

Copaiba as an ingredient was among a list of food trend predictions compiled by Ms. Moskow in partnership with Spoonshot, a food innovation intelligence platform. Using artificial intelligence, Spoonshot analyzed billions of data points across scientific journals, niche food communities and social media to predict what consumers will eat in 2021 and beyond.

Several predictions cast a new light on established trends and concepts. For example, carob is set for a comeback, supported by current diet trends. Previously positioned as a substitute for chocolate, carob regains relevance as a plant-based source of hydroxyproline, an amino acid linked to collagen production that is typically found in animal products. It also is gluten-free, caffeine-free, low in carbohydrates and high in fiber, calcium, iron, antioxidants and protein, Ms. Moskow said.

“It’s a super sustainable crop that’s easy to grow, it grows in several regions, and it’s fairly easy to grow with a low amount of water,” she added. “They didn’t position carob right in the ‘70s. It’s not a chocolate replacer… When you’re comparing anything to chocolate, it’s going to fail.”

Expect to see carob paired with chocolate in snacks and sweet baked foods or carob powder as a booster in smoothies, Ms. Moskow said.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if Starbucks came out with a carob syrup,” she said. “It gives an earthy, yummy, naturally sweet flavor.”

The next coconut oil

Another food with renewed relevance is olive oil, as the healthfulness of today’s trending fats remains unclear.

“People are going crazy over full-fat butter and coconut oil, (but) the science is not strong enough to say if they’re healthy or unhealthy,” Ms. Moskow said. “It keeps going back and forth. ‘It’s a terrible ingredient.’ ‘No, it’s a miracle ingredient.’”

New research taps into the heart and brain health benefits of olive oil. Elenolide, a chemical component in olive oil, is linked to anti-hypertensive and anti-inflammatory properties. Tyrosol is a compound in olive oil that protects against neurodegenerative diseases, Ms. Moskow said.

“I think rather than call out full-fat butter and coconut oil, we’re going to start seeing infusions of olive oils on plates … and chips and snacks that use olive oil as the call-out rather than avocado and coconut oil,” she said.

Salt & Straw fish sauce caramel and palm sugar ice cream

The next sweet and salty

An emerging flavor combination poised to gain traction in the years ahead is sweet and umami. Already embraced in several dubious pairings — apple pie with cheddar cheese and the Chicago-style cheese and caramel popcorn mix, as examples — what Ms. Moskow dubbed “sexy-ugly flavor mash-ups” are appearing on more menus. An ice cream flavor at Salt & Straw, Portland, Ore., combines fish sauce caramel with palm sugar. A dessert served at Fat Rice in Chicago features a crispy rice treat infused with pork floss, nori and fish sauce caramel.

“If you’re looking for a flavor pow and interesting dining experience, it’s definitely a space chefs will start exploring a bit more,” Ms. Moskow said.

Chickpea crust pizza

The next cauliflower crust

Product developers continue to discover new possibilities for chickpeas. Already popping up in sweet and savory spreads, snacks and more, garbanzo beans are now breaking into the bakery segment. Flatbreads and pizza crusts formulated with chickpea flour will expand beyond Europe to American freezer cases and restaurant menus, Ms. Moskow said. Aquafaba, or chickpea soaking water, is used in vegan recipes for cookies and other baked foods.  The Little Bean in Portland, Ore., serves frozen dessert, waffle cones and cookies made with chickpeas.

“I think the next cauli crust may be chickpea crust,” Ms. Moskow said.

Read more →

Can dogs have chocolate? There’s nothing sweet about chocolate poisoning


There is only one answer to the question “Can dogs have chocolate?”


Milk chocolate. Baker’s chocolate. Semi-sweet chocolate. For our canine companions, there is nothing sweet about chocolate or chocolate poisoning. However, while dog owners may understand that chocolate and dogs don’t mix, our lovable dogs do not.

That’s how I found myself on the other end of the stethoscope, so to speak, as my sister’s dog was at the ER being treated for chocolate poisoning. By sharing this true story of Banjo and the bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips, I hope to arm you with tips and resources you need in the case of chocolate poisoning.

Dog. Ate. Chocolate. Now what? 

It was the night after Thanksgiving, and I sat in the waiting room of the veterinary emergency and critical care center next to my sister who was consumed by mom guiltand worry. Her beloved dog Banjo was “in the back” after eating half a pound of chocolate chips. While home alone at grandma’s house, Banjo had gotten into chocolate chips.

Upon returning from a family outing, my sister’s husband found the first piece of evidence. He held up Exhibit A—an empty chocolate chip bag that looked as though it had been licked clean, which in fact it had. Luckily, we had this clue and I could read the label on the package.  Milk chocolate? White chocolate? Semi-sweet? The type of chocolate would help me determine the gravity of the situation and how I reacted to it.

Whether or not my sister noticed the shadow of concern that crossed my face, I could certainly see hers. As an informed dog mom, she knew the correct answer to the question “Can dogs have chocolate?” Banjo’s life depended on our quick action, her accurate estimate of the amount of chocolate he had eaten, and the type of chocolate he had consumed.

TIP #1: If you think your dog may have eaten chocolate, try to determine the type. This will help your vet assess the severity of the situation.  As a rule of thumb, the darker and more bitter the chocolate, the more toxic. Baker’s chocolate is the absolute worst, and semi-sweet chocolate (aka dark chocolate) is right up there with it.

Using a chocolate toxicity calculator to estimate the severity of the dog’s chocolate poisoning

In addition to knowing what kind of chocolate was consumed, we needed an estimate of how much chocolate Banjo had eaten. Keri estimated that the bag had been half full, which meant he could have eaten six to eight ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips.

At that point, I ran upstairs to my computer to triage Banjo. I needed to leave him briefly so that I could punch the data into a chocolate toxicity calculator. To get an accurate assessment, I entered three key pieces of data:

  • The dog’s weight (Banjo weighed 44 pounds.)
  • The type of chocolate consumed (He had eaten semi-sweet chocolate.)
  • How much chocolate the dog ate in ounces. (In Banjo’s case, we estimated that he had eaten six to eight ounces.)

Using the chocolate toxicity calculator, six ounces for Banjo yielded this message: “Tremors and seizures…ER treatment needed!”

I reran the calculations for eight ounces of ingestion. When I did that, the image of an animated dog that appears along with the written results of the toxicity level fell over on his back with all four feet in the air and the words “potential death” flashed on the screen.

We were hours away from both my own veterinary practice and Banjo’s regular veterinarian. We had to seek veterinary care nearby. And time mattered.

TIP #2: If a dog ingests chocolate, TIME MATTERS! Do not use a wait and see approach.
TIP #3: Before an accident happens, practice using a chocolate toxicity calculator. If you ever have to use it in a crisis, you’ll be able to do it quickly and confidently.

Banjo shows symptoms of chocolate poisoning

Just a few minutes had passed since we had walked in the door and Banjo had greeted us with a wagging tail. But as I read the words “potential death” on the toxicity calculator, my four-year-old said, “Mom…I stepped in something,” and I knew that couldn’t be good. I would expect both vomiting and diarrhea from a dog poisoned by chocolate, and Banjo had delivered.

There, on the carpet with my son’s foot planted in the center, was a dark brown liquefied mess. I wasn’t sure if it was diarrhea or vomit. Either way, it was in Banjo’s favor because his system had kicked out a lot of the toxin, less to be digested and absorbed. (Our home team clean-up crew later identified it—along with three more piles—as vomit.)

While I was running downstairs with news about the toxicity levels, my nephew announced, “Banjo’s hind legs are shaking.”

I had packed my stethoscope for our Thanksgiving road trip, so I quickly dug it out and listened to Banjo’s heart. I was listening for an elevated heart rate and an abnormal heart rhythm. His heart rate and rhythm were both normal. Two wins, I thought!

TIP #4: Signs of chocolate poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, elevated heart rate, and an abnormal heart rhythm.
TIP #5: By knowing your dog’s normal vital signs, you will have a baseline of information in the case of accidental chocolate poisoning.

The report from Banjo’s visit to the ER

The best course of action for Banjo was to go to a 24-hour emergency veterinary facility where he would receive overnight monitoring and treatment. After examination, the ER vet reported that Banjo was exhibiting signs of central nervous system excitability and his heart rate had climbed to 250 beats per minute. (Granted, when dogs get excited—ie. arriving at the ER hospital— their heart rates go up. But 250 beats per minute is an extremely high heart rate for an adult, larger-breed dog.)

They had induced vomiting and the plan was to keep Banjo overnight on IV fluids, give him a sedative to help him relax and a medication to help lower his heart rate called propranolol.

After hearing all this, my sister said with wide eyes, “Oh, this sounds much worse than what we thought.”

I said, “Well, hang on a second. I think there’s a good prognosis with appropriate treatment,” and I looked at the vet for back up.

After the standard “no guarantees” opening disclaimer, she offered her reassurance and promised to call first thing in the morning with an update. And if there were any changes during his overnight stay, she would call immediately.

Sensing that the consult was over, I said to my sister, “Do you want to say goodbye to Banjo?” I looked at the vet, and I said, “Would that be okay?” She looked at me like, “Oh, lady, are you really a vet?” And here’s why: Banjo was settled. He was getting his treatments. Veterinarians know that a visit would cause a disruption to the patient.

But I think somewhere in the deep recesses of my subconscious I had this thought…

What if Banjo doesn’t make it?

I knew my sister would never forgive herself for not saying goodbye, so I had blurted out the suggestion. My sister calmly said, “Well, wouldn’t that get him all keyed up? I’m okay not saying goodbye. I think it’s better for him.”

Those words of unconditional love for her dog touched my heart.

The dog’s recovery from eating chocolate

Keri got a call early the next morning from the ER vet. Banjo was doing well enough to go home. Thankfully, his story had a happy ending. But not all do. Two of my veterinary colleagues had lost patients to chocolate toxicity. However, in both of those cases, there was a significant lag time between ingestion and veterinary treatment.

Banjo the dog ate chocolate
Banjo taking a nap after returning home from the ER.

What can you learn from Banjo’s experience?

black dog recovered after eating chocolate
Banjo is back on his feet!

Remember, if your dog ingests chocolate or any toxin, it’s always less dangerous for your dog if you take a “triage and treat early” approach. Our swift action may have saved Banjo’s life.

Finally, keep important phone numbers and information handy including:

  • ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center: If your regular veterinarian is not open, you cannot go wrong calling the Animal Poison Control Center. There is a fee involved, but it’s the best money you can spend in an emergency.


(888) 426-4435

Read more →

carob comeback:the chocolate substitute is experiencing a spike in demand. Australia leading the way


14 AUGUST 2017

By Katie Woodward 

Carob rose to popularity in the 1980s as a chocolate substitute because of its natural sweetness and is now again experiencing a spike in demand due to its nutritional value. Katie Woodward takes a closer look at the chocolate substitute.

Carob powder, ground from the ripe dry pods of the carob tree, is high in fibre, calcium and protein, and boasts a number of other health benefits and nutritional values. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

As people worldwide become increasingly conscious about what they’re eating and where it has been sourced, the demand for healthy natural foods has rocketed. From gluten-free bread to sugar-free baking, there is a huge market for healthy alternatives driven by health-conscious consumers.

For chocolate lovers, it is hard to find a replacement that has the same flavour, texture, and melt-in-the-mouth feel as the indulgent treat.

A possible replacement is Carob. It is made from the seed pods of the Ceratonia siliqua tree, which is native to the Mediterranean region. It first rose to popularity in the 1980s as a chocolate substitute due to its natural sweetness. Back then, it was common place, touted as ‘healthy’, and embraced as part of the early vegetarian and good-for-you lifestyle. Now it is starting to make a comeback, with demand once again on the rise due to the chocolate substitute’s nutritional values.

The healthy alternative: tracking the carob down

Carob powder is ground from the ripe dry pods of the carob tree. It is high in fibre, calcium, and protein, and boasts a number of other health benefits and nutritional values that make the food an attractive alternative to chocolate.

Vegan, caffeine-free, gluten-free, and naturally sweet (eliminating the need to fortify it with sugar), one tablespoon of carob powder has 25 calories, no fat, no saturated fat, no cholesterol, and 6g of carbohydrate. Compare this to cocoa powder, which has more fat and contains caffeine, and it is easy to see why carob production is experiencing a resurgence in popularity.

Carob also contains three times as much calcium as cocoa powder, has a high iron content, and is claimed to reduce cholesterol.

A 2010 study published in the journal Plant Foods for Human Nutritionfound that participants who ate carob fibre twice a day reduced their blood cholesterol after a period of just four weeks.

However, despite these abundant health benefits, carob powder is still largely confined to health food stores or the healthy foods aisles of supermarkets. A quick Google search of ‘where to buy carob’ returns a page with just more than 500,000 results, with the top hits being Holland and Barrett, Amazon,, and

A booming sector: Australia is leading the way

For the moment, carob is still trying to find its place in the global food industry. However, this year two Australian companies have found export success with their nutritious and delicious carob bars, powders, and syrups. Based in South Australia, Australian Carob Company and The Carob Kitchen are the two largest producers in the country, exporting their products to many countries including Singapore, Japan, the US, and the UK.

In addition, the Australian Carob Company has developed what it claims to be the world’s purest carob product, which is also free from nuts and gluten.

Company founder Michael Jolly was quoted by the lead as saying the quality of Australian carob is unparalleled: “There are a lot of health benefits with carob and the benefit of using it without adding sugars.

“It is very good for your digestive system, high in fibre, it’s got vitamins, protein, calcium, and iron. It is 100% organic.

“We are totally nut free and gluten free because we are the only non-contaminated carob in the world with full traceability.”

The company’s carob products are processed without any contamination or waste, which makes them highly regarded in countries such as Spain, which is one of the traditional carob-producing nations.

Both the Australian Carob Company and The Carob Kitchen put the peak in demand for carob down to the burgeoning health food industry. A 2012 report from EuroMonitor International estimated that the global sale of healthy food products will reach $1 trillion in 2017, and it is this market that carob and carob products will tap into.

Reviving a tradition: technology and traditional farming

In an attempt to revive the traditional cultivation of carobs, the University of Cyprus has teamed up with farmers to plant and harvest thousands of trees on the island.

University rector Constantinos Christofides said: “The idea is to combine high technology and traditional farming with a view of finding new uses for carobs such as preparing baby food, as carobs are known to help in digestion and intestine problems.”

The project aims to make use of the special and nutritional characteristics of carob, such as its high-calcium and phosphorous content, as well as its possible uses as an analgesic and a substitution for coffee and cocoa.

Christofides added: “It is amazing that the traditional main use for carobs was to prepare animal fodder.

“But their characteristics make them suitable for a plethora of products. Consuming them raw is very healthy.”

Until the 1960s, Cyprus was the third largest exporter of carobs after Spain and Italy, and the trade generated millions of pounds annually. But now, only small quantities are harvested, and these are mainly used by local industries to produce a carob candy, syrup dressing, and flour. The project to revive carob cultivation involves planting 40,000 new carob trees to create Cyprus’ largest carob forest on government lands on the southwest shore of the island.

While farmers have already expressed an interest in getting involved with the project, the University of Cyprus is also trying to attract overseas investment, and is reportedly in contact with pharmaceutical companies and baby food manufacturers to exploit the medicinal and nutritional properties of carobs.

Christofides says: “The idea is to attract foreign interest from food and pharmaceutical manufacturers but also provide local and foreign investment in a sector that we believe offers vast prospects.”

He added by applying science to a traditional activity, the project will: “help create jobs for farmers who otherwise would be idle, offer job opportunities in research and manufacturing, and help Cyprus consolidate and expand growth.”

Read more →

carob powder: what is it and how can you tell it is raw


Read more →

polyphenols from carob linked to performance improvement in pilot study


Herbal products and supplements use by athletes has increased over the past decade. One such item being polyphenols. These are reported to reduce weight and modify body composition, which could aid athletes in many sports. Therefore, the purpose of the study was to determine the effect of 6 weeks supplementation with carob, a naturally occurring polyphenol, on body composition and aerobic capacity in youth taekwondo athletes. Twenty-three taekwondo athletes (21.9 ± 1.2 years; 1.64 ± 0.03 m; 67.4 ± 17.3 kg;BMI: 22.8 ± 5.5 kg/m2) participated in a short-term (6-week) double-blind randomized design parallel fully controlled training study (pre-to-post measurements): Supplemented group (SG), n = 11;placebo group (PG), n = 12. Body composition, aerobic capacity, heart rate and RPE were analyzed before and after 6 weeks of carob rich polyphenol ingestion. Significantly greater decreases in weight were observed for SG and PG (−2.82% and − 0.51%respectively) with differences between groups (p < 0.001). No significant differences were reported in percentage body fat and muscular volume between groups. Our results revealed an improvement of aerobic performance score and RPE with differences between groups. A cute polyphenol supplementation seemed to be effective in reducing body weight and improving aerobic performance in athletes. Complete article click here:
Read more →