Food for Thought: January Edition

Amuse-Bouche

"We're bringing together two beloved brands known for their ability to instigate fun..."

- a Yoplait spokesperson on the new collaboration between Go-Gurt and Sour Patch Kids


Hors d'Oeuvres

 Image from Business Insider.

Image from Business Insider.

From having some of the world's best ingredients to cultivating a culinary community unlike any other, it's no secret that the French love their food. But, did you know they're nuts about Nutella? After lowering prices of the coveted chocolate hazelnut spread, riots erupted around the country with Frenchmen saying "oui, oui". 

The first cashier-less grocery store - AmazonGo - opened its doors last month in Seattle. After scanning your app, the cutting-edge technology tracks the items you grab and charges you automatically upon exiting the store. All of this is possible through surveillance cameras and sensors formulated with "Just Walk Out" technology. Word to the wise: juice up your phone before you go.

If you could have any job you desired, would it involve eating chicken nuggets? If so, we have great news! British retailer B&M is in need of a chicken nugget connoisseur. The ideal candidate "[is] the first in the office kitchen whenever someone says there's cake" and "[gets] the 20 share box of nuggets from McDonald's and [keeps] them all for him or herself". The one downside, this job won't make you rich. Compensation includes £20 in vouchers to be used at a local store. 

 Image from Refinery 29.

Image from Refinery 29.

More than 2 million ballots have been cast across the United States in the first of many important elections this year. With 36% of the vote, Krispie Kreme has declared lemon the winner of its new flavor contest. In her official announcement, CMO Jackie Woodward noted that "we can’t glaze over the fact that the other three flavors, [blueberry, caramel, and maple] all received a lot of support."


The Main Course

After years as the second most popular tourist destination,  the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has predicted that the United States will lose its current ranking to Spain. Despite an overall 7% surge in travel, international tourists aren't as keen on traveling to the land of the free, home of the brave; travel to America declined 4% in 2017 after a 2% decline in 2016.  But, what exactly does this mean?

 Image courtesy of Unsplash (Stefan Kunze).

Image courtesy of Unsplash (Stefan Kunze).

  • Trump Slump: Since the decline occurred during the first five months of Donald Trump's presidency (5% in the first quarter and 3% in the second quarter), experts explain that this is due to the strong US dollar and the administration's controversial policies on immigration and travel. 
  • Not just Meghan Markle: A significant amount of the missing tourism dollars are coming from the UK; typically, British tourism accounts for $5 billion of the overall US economy but 29% of Britons are putting their US holiday plans on hold. 
  • By the numbers: According to the Commerce Department, the decline in tourism since November translates to $4.6 billion in losses and 40,000 jobs. The U.S. Travel Association believes that this downward trend "equates to 7.4 million visitors and $32.2 billion in spend."
  • Leaving on a jet plan: Meanwhile, European tourism grew with a 13% increase in tourism to Southern European and Mediterranean countries. Overall, France holds the top spot for tourism with 89 million visitors last year. The official report for 2017 will be released this spring. 

On the Side

 Image from Travel & Leisure. 

Image from Travel & Leisure. 

Winter is coming! If your ideal vacation includes freezing temperatures, wearing fur coats, and fighting white walkers, the time is now to book your flight to Finland. The Nordic country is now home to the "Game of Thrones" ice hotel. Made of more than 44 million pounds of snow and 771,000 pounds of ice, the hotel is the perfect place to live out your Winterfell fantasies, including sitting on an ice replica of the Iron Throne. Book soon though, it's only open until April 8.

Want to see what the hotel room of the future will look like? Make your way to the suburbs of DC. Hilton Hotels is debuting new products and hotel features at its Innovation Gallery near Tyson's Corner, Va. From a transformable art displays to a personal mixologist beverage dispenser, the guest experience will be enhanced through customization. Other features include real-time translation, noise-machines, and stress-relieving devices.  


Sweet Escape

If you can't get enough of Fixer Upper, you're not the only one. Thanks to the popularity of the beloved HGTV show, Waco, Texas was named one of the cities on the up and up by Trip Advisor. Other rising stars include Omaha, Neb., Bend, Ore., and Boulder, Colo., and, our favorite, Paso Robles, Calif.