Image Source: Associated Press
Every week we track the business, tech and investment trends in CPG, retail, restaurants, agriculture, cooking and health, so you don’t have to. Here are some of this week’s top headlines.
Food workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic are testing positive for the virus and beginning to die. Walmart, Trader Joe’s and Giant reported four deaths and meat packing giants Tyson Foods and JBS reported three deaths. The news exposes the fragility of global supply chains that are needed to keep grocery stores stocked amid panic buying and empty shelves.
As a result of the restaurant and school closures, the seafood industry has reported an 85% loss in revenue. Meanwhile, the dairy industry expects to lose $5 to $10b in sales over the next six months.
The COVID-19 pandemic has put more than 10 million independent restaurant workers at risk of losing their jobs for good. Across sectors, businesses are being forced to pivot their business models as consumers go on lockdown and change their buying habits. This round-up features many of the ways the pandemic is impacting all parts of the food industry.
In an effort to do our part and support the community we love so dearly, we have compiled a list of resources and organizations that are providing support to those in need. We are also offering free job postings to anyone who is looking to employ people impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Check out our weekly round-up of last week’s top food startup, tech and innovation news below or peruse the full newsletter here.
At least four people – who had worked at Walmart, Trader Joe’s and Giant – have died from covid-19 in recent days. Thousands of grocery store employees have continued to report to work as US infections and death rates continue to climb.
At least three people who worked at plants owned by Tyson Foods and JBS were reported to have died from the pandemic. Vice President Mike Pence said Tuesday that these workers are “vital,” calling on them to “show up and do your job” to keep the nation fed.
Fishermen and processors say they’ve lost up to 85% of their revenue. They also worry: Will there be any restaurants left when the pandemic ends?
The dairy industry expects to lose $5 to $10b in sales over the next six months. Groups representing dairy farmers in the Midwest urged the USDA to purchase mass quantities of dairy commodities and provide direct aid to farmers.
Alibaba, Mirae Asset and CDC Group led the round, bringing the startup’s valuation above $1b. The startup is aggressively trying to hire more delivery staff. The volume of orders has surged by up to five times in recent weeks.
Nonprofits and trade associations are already overwhelmed. ROC received 10k financial assistance applications in one week, while the James Beard Foundation received 4.2k applications in just a few hours.
A group called Rethink has teamed up with the Michelin-starred restaurant to feed New Yorkers in need.
If new COVID-19 cases peak and start to decline in May, restaurants and bars can expect at 11.4% decline in business. The worst-case scenario would be a second wave of outbreaks in Q4, which would result in a decline in sales of 27.1%.
While the new $350b Paycheck Protection Program is aimed at businesses with 500 or fewer employees, big restaurant and hotel chains can participate regardless of how many people they employ.
The group has collected over half a million products from roughly 230 brands. The items are redistributed to nine local New York City hospitals, with 16 more expected to come online next week.
As the coronavirus pandemic penetrates more deeply into global supply chains, prices for key staples are starting to soar in some parts of the world.
The fund raised $170m for its first fund last week. It is looking for food, beverage, pet and personal care companies with $4 to $5m in trailing 12-month revenue.
Existing investor Tencent and new players Ark Impact, Korea Investment Partners, Samsung Ventures and Mirae Asset Capital Markets financed the new tranche.
With the addition of California and Arizona, it will be an option in eight states, with a combined 10m SNAP participants, a quarter of national food stamp rolls. The USDA said it would consider requests from other states for the service.
Despite being a critical part of the hospitality industry, undocumented immigrants face a reality with little help from the government—or their employers.
As home cooks practice social distancing, farm produce that skips the store makes sense.