It's Friday, January 15. Here's a vital dose of food intel from around the world that will surely give you plenty to ponder over the long weekend:
— Is there a company that doesn't want to get into the online reservations game? The newest entrant is Zomato, the restaurant-focused review site and app that's been attempting to give Yelp a run for its money. The new reservations platform, called Zomato Book, is integrated into the Zomato app and is currently serving about 500 restaurants across 21 cities. And it's no wonder: According to a recent survey by Verizon, an estimated 26 percent of American smartphone owners used an app to make a restaurant reservation in 2015 (a 72 percent increase over 2014).
— The UK is considering a controversial labeling tactic to warn consumers about junk food. The New York Daily News reports the Royal Society of Public Health wants to add "activity equivalent" icons to packaging for sugary drinks, chips, and other processed foods telling buyers how long they would have to run, bike, or swim to burn off the calories. Dr. Asseem Malhotra of the National Obesity Forum doesn't favor the strategy, saying that the one-size-fits-all labels would mislead the public and leave "the impression you can out-exercise a bad diet."
— Remember that time David Bowie appeared in a mineral water commercial? Probably not, but here it is in all its ridiculous, timeless glory.
— Fried chicken giant KFC is setting its sights on Nigeria for a big expansion push. According to CNN, the chain is a leader on the African continent for fast food, although its restaurants primarily operate in South Africa. KFC meals cost nearly four times more in Nigeria than other KFC markets, which can make a bucket of fried chicken look like a luxury item to many of the country's consumers — but despite the challenge, the chain is forging ahead with expansion plans and attempting to entice customers with version of a popular local dish, jollof rice.
— Candy brand Jelly Belly is jumping aboard the natural ingredient bandwagon. The company is preparing to introduce a line of USDA-certified organic jelly beans and organic fruit snacks. The jelly beans come in 10 flavors and are made with non-GMO ingredients and colors from "natural sources." Good luck convincing your kids candy isn't healthy. Meanwhile, Jelly Belly's founder David Klein (who sold the company in 1980) has launched a Kickstarter to fund his own line of caffeinated jelly beans.