I know I am a little late, but while strolling past Whole Foods (now part of Amazon) and stopping in Hu Kitchen for lunch, it dawned upon me like a ton of bricks ... people don't value value anymore, they value values. I think we have reached a tipping point in our society where inexpensive food substitutes (sorry McDonalds) and cheap sugary drinks (see ya Coca-Cola) just won't cut it anymore. Sure they can try to latch on to inclusive feelings in their brand messaging (just watch their Olympic advertising), but I am not sure that goes far enough. Consumers demand more from their brands. The race to the bottom is over, and the race to the top has begun! We are happy to pay more for things that will not harm the environment. We will frequent places that make the world a better place. Look no further than Google's $2 billion purchase of Chelsea Market. Google's stated goal is "Don't be evil." In Chelsea Market, they are seemingly overpaying for a market (on which its NYC corporate campus will be anchored) that embraces the future, a collective interest in community and responsibility. This market has brought together various vendors that care about their community, like Artists & Fleas or Saxelby Cheesemongers. Google understands this nuance and is willing to pay up for the value of values!
In this week's Loupe, we explore some of these values!
DRINK TO A BETTER WORLD
Drinking sugary drinks is basically tantamount to saying "I don't care about myself." When combined with a large plastic bottle or cup (Big Gulp anyone?) you are also saying "I don't care about the environment." Using a plastic straw (I know you like the flexible ones?) communicates that you are lazy (I don't want to crane my neck drinking this) or vain (I don't want this disgusting sugary liquid to touch my teeth). Apparently, straws aren't easy to recycle, and therefore frequently find themselves in landfills. Thankfully the folks at Lolistraw have developed an edible, hyper-compostable straw! This is a follow-up to their very successful Kickstarter campaign leading to the release of a cup with similar properties. If you must drink a sugary drink, and use a straw, then please pay up and use a Lolistraw which says, "I care about the environment, despite being addicted to sugary drinks."
GUILT FREE CHOCOLATE
Hu Kitchen (& Chocolate)
78 5th Ave, New York, NY 10011
Hu Kitchen was founded on the basic question, “How should humans eat?” From that straightforward question, they established seven pillars which answer that question. Meanwhile, they haven’t sacrificed taste in achieving their goal. Hu has a variety of prepared foods from which to choose. They even produce a variety of chocolate bars that they sell wholesale and taste great. As good as the restaurant is, they have produced an excellent chocolate bar. It seems that they couldn't find one that met their 7 pillars, and therefore they had to make on on their own. It has No Dairy, No GMOs, No Emulsifiers, No Soy Lecithin, No Gluten, No Refined Sugar, No Cane Sugar, and No Sugar Alcohols. Amazingly, the result is a bar that tastes great and makes you feel great about yourself. It comes in a variety of flavors including Simple, Salty, Crunchy Mint, and more. There is no milk chocolate here, so go look elsewhere! Get back to human at Hu Kitchen!
BRING YOUR OWN BAG
137 Grand Stree Brooklyn, NY 11249
Another way to eliminate non-recyclable things from your life is to shop at a store that removes them for you. Package Free was conceived of by Lauren Singer, who has become synonymous with the Zero Waste movement vis a vis her blog. Incredibly, all the non-recyclable waste she has produced in the last five years can fit into a 16 oz mason jar. While that is a bit extreme, she shows us the way to begin to reduce the amount of trash we send to landfills. While here, I picked up a bamboo fiber coffee cup & a toothbrush! She has created a stylish store that has lots of things that could replace your needs and wants with items that are more environmentally friendly.
VALUE AT CHELSEA MARKET
Chelsea Market, 75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011
If you want to experience Chelsea market before it is overrun with Google employees, I highly recommend you head to Minzon for Israeli Street Food. This is the first location in the United States for this (chain) restaurant by Israeli Master Chef Eyal Shani. It all starts with the Pita, which is baked to perfection, with just enough sweetness. There are a variety of vegan and non-vegan options, and it's really hard to go wrong. They are famous for their cauliflower, which is outstanding; it is simply prepared by boiling, baking and basting with olive oil and salt. It’s also nice to hear some Hebrew spoken by the staff there. Thank you Louper Liora Y, an expert in all things Israel! If you can make your way to Israel, Shani's restaurants are a must-hit --- Don't miss Ha Salon and North Abraxus.