Our weekly serving of off-the-menu items – a few popular favorites from the week, as well as a few morsels that may have slipped your notice.

There’s a Time to Grocery Shop, and It’s Now

While increased market competition is placing strain on grocery stores as they struggle to make a profit, there has never been a better time to be a consumer at supermarkets. This same competition has prompted low prices, wide product selections, and better quality goods. Companies like Amazon are able to cater to specific needs, evidenced by Amazon’s selling of 100 different kinds of tartar sauce.

The World of ASMR Food Videos

ASMR – or Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response – is the increasingly popular trend of listening to pleasing sounds, usually through YouTube videos. Food videos are playing a growing role in ASMR, with anything from the noises of slurping noodles to pouring milk providing comfort for global YouTube users. Check out some of the best food ASMR videos collected by Fine Dining Lovers.

Merging Education with Farming

Dan Kunanec’s Green Industries education program in Toronto teaches high school students about sustainable farming systems, agricultural design, and cooking. Kynanec aims to encourage students to become passionate about environmental systems, and teach them how to build better environments. The program provides a glass greenhouse, aquaponics system, and outdoor kitchen – among other amenities – so that the students can learn from hands on work.

Potato Plastic

Industrial designer Pontus Törnqvist has developed a biodegradable alternative to plastic, using only potato starch and water. Törnqvist hopes that his eco-friendly and cheap replacement for plastic can revolutionize the fast-food industry, potentially replacing straws, cutlery, and condiment packaging.

Searching for New Ingredients

In the quest for new ingredients and better food, chefs are turning to undiscovered ingredients. This New York Times article outlines some of the Amazonian ingredients – from caiman to fungi – that chefs are seeking to bring into the spotlight.