The Supply of Restaurants

>> Sunday, January 31, 2010

I stumbled into today's story. My family and I were planning to attend the "Minneapolis Healthy Life Expo" and meet up with a friend there. The expo turned out to be more of a joke that I expected it to be; I supposed there would be simply a showing of health-related vendors and if I were lucky maybe a semi-interesting spontaneous seminar, but it the vendors weren't even entirely health-related. There were housing/repair and vacation vendors as well. Since it was as much an insult as a disappointment, we called our friend and told her to not even bother showing up.  Our friend and her family were at the moment shopping at a very nearby restaurant supply store, and thus we met up with them there.

Inside it looked like most any regular buying club-style grocery store. You may already be familiar with Sam's Club or CostCo, and that's the same kind of impression I got when I walked inside. The only thing you have to keep in mind was that this particular business is catering specifically to restaurants as clients. I believe you're supposed to have a registered business in order to sign up with their club. With that in mind, the feelings I had after that ranged from disappointed to appalled when I saw what kinds of things were on the shelves.

We walked inside the refrigerated section of the store, which is like literally walking inside a ballroom-sized refrigerator. Perhaps not the most cost-efficient way of storing food, but then there really was so much of it that it made sense to have the entire section so cold. That's not really my call, though, because I don't know their numbers. However in here we found meats, produce, and dairy. As for organic supplies, there was an extremely tiny sliver of shelving dedicated to Organic Valley-brand products, and that was it. Keep in mind, this is the kind of thing that you're probably eating whenever you go out to the average restaurant. Sure, prices were pretty great, bought in extreme bulk, but there were worse things in addition to the conventionally-raised vegetables.

There were institution-sized buckets of margarine or other non-butter spread, highly-processed meats, fake cheese, desserts with who-knows-what kind of preservatives or artificial flavors, ... the list goes on and on. This is why it's so important to be careful about what you eat when you go out to eat: those in charge of supplying restaurants or catering services are in business to make money, and using this cheap, unhealthy food is good for that business.

Stepping outside the refrigerated section, there were shelves upon shelves of continued great deals on lots of processed foods. The walls of pop are so standard everywhere that they really need not be mentioned. There was everything from bulk spices to artificial flavorings to everyone's favorite: Creamy Liquid Fry Oil! Before I let you browse through the pictures I took, I'd like to share with you some of the details from this little package.  It says it's a "no salt", "no cholesterol" food - as if that somehow remotely means that it's healthy. It claims that it's "Great for cooking, baking, frying, dressings, and sauces." And the best part is the ingredient list: "Liquid and hydrogenated soybean oil, TBHQ and citric acid added to protect flavor, dimethylpolysiloxane, an anti-foaming agent added."

Restaurants serve this to you without a second thought.


Kelly the Kitchen Kop,  February 1, 2010 at 7:54 PM  

Wow, that gives me a stomachache just reading this.  I don't dare touch fried foods when we're out anymore.  I know better.  I'll eat fried foods at home instead and feel great afterward!

Psychic Lunch,  February 2, 2010 at 9:18 AM  

I think "Creamy Liquid Fry Oil" will be a mantra I can use to keep myself from eating any of this stuff!

Anonymous,  February 3, 2010 at 8:34 PM  

kind of makes me want to stay  home to eat... ;)

kc,  February 3, 2010 at 9:51 PM  

I bet every single item in that store contained GMO corn or soy. I have a built-in GMO detector (I am allergic to corn and soy) and there are ZERO restaurants that can accomodate my particular "special dietary needs" (I can't eat anything except food)! I am not just talking about fast food, either. I spoke to owners of expensive steak houses and even health food cafes in my city as well and no one could accomodate me. The discussion usually progressed no further than cooking oil.

Laurie,  February 4, 2010 at 11:31 AM  

That's just plain nasty.  We went out to eat last night (a rare occurance), and I ordered a meal with a "white wine butter sauce".  If that was real butter, I'll eat my socks.  i tooka few bites and had to quit eating.  It was awful.  My stoamch hurt all the way home.  Luckily, a glass of kombucha helped.  Industrial food is making us all sick.  Eat cheap, pay bigger medical bills...sigh...

rhauptman,  February 4, 2010 at 1:31 PM  

I exhibited at the Healthy Life Expo once (Media Max events) in 2005, and I was unimpressed. There were MaryKay booths, pampered chef booths, companies that wanted to remodel my house for me. Wasn't worth it... so I quit exhibiting but have been there twice since, as an attendee.

I have not been able to eat fast food for at least the past year. It is digusting to me, and makes me nauseous. Well, except for Chipotle. I enjoy eating there. And thankfully we go out to eat only occasionally, and eat pretty healthy at home. Thanks for sharing this info. I am going to go gag myself now!!

Psychic Lunch,  February 4, 2010 at 3:05 PM  

kc, that might be a great thing to look into; exactly how much GMO corn or soy is in restaurant food. (I like that, too: "I can't eat anything except food!" :) )

It would be SO nice to be able to trust the food you get in restaurants, but ... well, as long as we have distribution chains like this one, and as long as junk is cheap, it will always be a battle!

Erin,  February 5, 2010 at 12:56 PM  

My husband and I are doing our best to avoid eating out at all in the month of February.  After seeing this, I need to remind myself each time I'm tempted to eat out that it would be almost impossible for me to eat a home-cooked meal that was as poor in nutrition as eating at a chain/typical restaurant.  

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About Psychic Lunch

Psychic Lunch was founded in 2009 by a nerd and father who wants people to be healthy. The information on this site is researched, but should be considered opinion; that is, you should always do your own research and come to your own conclusions about what is and what is not healthy. Products endorsed on this site are actually believed in and used by the author.


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