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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The New Food Icon - Divided Plate or Round?
The new food icon will be unveiled Thursday, and rumor has it that it will be the plate.

That seems a reasonable visual cue, but it will depend on how the plate is presented.  I remember going to the cafeteria at UCLA, and being charged for salad by the size of the plate. You can imagine the tall building techniques the students developed on a small plate. That was then.

Now, many venues charge the customer by weighing the plate.  From Mongolian Hot Pots to yogurt topped with candy, price is the new measure of self control.

But if price is no object, the divided plate should be our new dinner ware. The stainless steel plate says institution, but the idea is solid, especially if you remember my previous post  about the "no touching" food rule.  Plate walls are a good visual device, and even for people who pile it on, they do constrain portion size.  

Plate walls can be used to contain soups and cereals that can't be measured or eaten from a flat surface.

My guess is that the new plate will be flat and round. Even Columbus could think in 3D. But, since the USDA has previously used the words  "fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables"  they cannot.   

If the plate is color coded, more men than women will still have an excuse to be fat because 5% - 8% of men are red/green color blind. If the plate contains artistic renderings of different fruits and vegetables, the problem will be that since all species can't be depicted, left out growers will lose sales. 

Pizza, casseroles, crock pot style cooking, or any recipes with mixed ingredients are out because how will they fit on the new plate.  I am willing to assume the U.S. government will solve that problem, and all others, in the reveal June, 2.

So marketers of dinnerware and writers of recipes get ready for product innovation, increased sales and new hires. The plate icon to encourage healthy eating is a government stimulus.

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