13 Feb 2012
An unfortunate consequence of our modern food supply chain is that most food that you buy in the grocery store actually comes from a lab rather than a kitchen. That is, instead of being developed by a chef or cook, it’s more likely contracted to a food scientist who optimizes the flavor and nutritional spec to that defined by the company. This will include finding isolates of protein, processed plant derivatives for fiber, artificial or “natural” sweeteners to boost sweetness without calories and sugars, and flavorings that are made from proprietary materials and ingredients that may or may not include what it actually tastes like.
We like our food to actually be real – like something you can make at home. Since they don’t sell soy protein isolate at the grocery store, we don’t use it in our products. Instead, we think your protein should come from the whole ingredient that it’s present in. Similarly, we don’t think that chicory root sounds like a particularly natural way to get fiber – and don’t use it in our cereals, instead relying on the natural fiber present in the whole grain.
One of my favorite Attune Foods’ products is our Skinner’s Raisin Bran. Believe it or not – this is America’s First Raisin Bran. Granted, it doesn’t sound terribly innovative to conceive of an idea to put fruit and wheat together, but sometimes the best products are the ones that are the most simple and intuitive.
Skinner’s was created in 1926 and is still made the same way today. We take whole red winter wheat berries and steam, flatten and toast them to their crunchy best. We flavor the flakes with a tiny bit of barley malt and salt. And then we add sun ripened California raisins from our friends at Sun-Maid Growers. And that’s it. We love the natural sweetness of raisins and don’t think they need an extra dip and roll in sugar. Similarly, the natural crunch and nuttiness of our flakes is a reflection of the beauty of preserving the integrity of the whole grain. We think that tastes better than taking flours mixed with sugars, fortified fiber, and mixing them into a flour or slurry before being pressed through a machine to create what then looks like a flake. We don’t know of anyone that has an extruder machine in their kitchen at home.
Sadly, Skinner’s Raisin Bran is a very small brand today. But we think that the traditional way of making cereal preserves the nutritional integrity of the ingredients, and are hoping to find a new audience for this once great classic. You’ll start to notice our new design that mimics our Uncle Sam Cereal. And you’ll note that we make our Skinner’s flakes the same way we do Uncle Sam. That’s why you’ll see the Uncle Sam brand on the product now. Skinner’s Raisin Bran has only four ingredients – and a bowl gives you 6g of fiber, 6g of protein and 8g of natural sugar from raisins.
Simple Ingredients. Simply Made. Because what matters most is what’s inside.
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