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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.
The so-called Paycheck Protection Program has all but failed small, independent restaurants. The $349 billion program has run out of money just two weeks after going into effect. Four days after the SBA opened the application window, Ruth’s Chris Steak House was granted a $20 million in forgivable loans. Unsurprisingly, the White House’s Economic Council was revealed to include fast food chain executives, fine dining chefs, and not a single independent operator.
Last month, French Agricultural Minister Didier Guillaume issued his appeal for a “great agricultural army” amid the coronavirus lockdown that has seen border closures that are depriving farmers of their usual contingents of migrant seasonal laborers. More than 200,000 people answered France’s call for temporarily workers to help farmers desperate for extra hands as summer approaches.
In the US, large farmers are being forced to destroying millions of pounds of fresh goods that they can no longer sell. In response, the Trump administration announced plans to purchase milk and meat products as part of a $15.5 billion aid package that would go to US food banks or sent overseas as aid.
Coronavirus cases are continuing to grow across the meat packing and grocery industry. The world’s largest pork producer, Smithfield Foods, shut down three of its meat plants this week as its Sioux Falls, South Dakota plant became the single biggest hotspot in the United States with 518 employees testing positive for COVID-19. Deaths among workers have lent urgency to the demands for protection and underscore the fragility of interconnected food supply chains amid the coronavirus pandemic.
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.
The food and beverage group is made up almost entirely of executives from major restaurant chains, industry associations, food and drink manufacturers, and a few high-profile chef-restaurateurs.
Citizens are responding to an appeal by agriculture minister Didier Guillaume for a “great agricultural army” amid the coronavirus lockdown that has seen border closures that are depriving farmers of their usual contingents of migrant laborers.
With restaurants, hotels and schools closed, many of the nation’s largest farms are destroying millions of pounds of fresh goods that they can no longer sell.
The high-end dining chain is among the first public companies to disclose it has received a government-backed loan to support payroll, days after the $350b program to aid small businesses started taking applications.
As many as 50 people at a JBS facility tested positive, adding to more than 160 cases at a Cargill meat-packaging plant and 190 cases at a Smithfield Foods pork facility. The Cargill and Smithfield plants are being shuttered, while JBS said it will continue operations.
Top pork producer Smithfield Foods is shutting down two more US plants in a decision that underscores the vulnerability of interconnected food supply chains amid the coronavirus pandemic.
A cluster of infections at the store in the heart of trendy downtown Washington is not an isolated episode, as the nation’s grocery workers increasingly fall ill.
As chains like Potbelly’s and Ruth’s Chris secure $10m loans, smaller restaurants stand to be crowded out.
Operators say the $2.2t relief plan is not designed to help small restaurants that have already shut down or been reduced to a carryout.
Sales of gift cards and liquor are booming, but restaurants and workers remain at the center of the economic storm. An NRA survey showed that while 44% of restaurant owners have closed temporarily, 11% are planning to shut down for good next month.
The Trump administration would like to make purchases of milk and meat products as part of a $15.5b initial aid package to farmers rattled by the coronavirus. The products would go to US food banks or sent overseas as aid.
The funding comes from existing investors DST Global, Hillhouse Capital and Sequoia Capital. The round remains open. Kurly plans to use funding for a new fulfillment center and new customer acquisition.
Coatue Management led the round. Funds will be used to continue building out its technology and customer base, as well as to adapt to the current market with more initiatives to help its customers stay in business.
Funding will primarily go towards scaling company operations and increasing sales and marketing efforts. The round consisted of individual investors led by David Roux, co-founder of Silver Lake Partners.
The announcement came just a few days after SoftBank founder and CEO Masayoshi Son admitted that he expected 15 companies in the Vision Fund portfolio to go bankrupt.
Wafra invested $10m in Pure Harvest Smart Farm’s Series A, with plans to invest up to a total of $100m to support the expansion of the company’s farms. Abu Dhabi Investment Office’s committed $100m in grant funding to further the R&D of four agtech companies.
Rebel Foods’ other investors include Sequoia Capital and City Storage Systems. The startup is expanding to the UAE and currently operates 325 cloud kitchens in India.