Image Source: Wall Street Journal
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 failure of the Paycheck Protection Program when independent restaurants and bars learned that they had been passed over as funds went to large chains. Facing criticism, Shake Shack and Sweetgreen both announced that they would be returning their $10 million loans.
Meat packers and big box retailers are continuing to experience an increase in positive coronavirus cases and deaths. In response, Tyson has suspended operations of its largest plant in Waterloo, Iowa. Several grocery stores have converted to online shopping to protect their employees.
Eight states have deemed recreational cannabis essential during Covid-19 shutdowns. Industry executives believe federal legalization of cannabis would provide economic stimulus through tax revenue and job creation during the recovery.
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.
We need your support as well. Producing our newsletter takes a lot of time and resources, and we need to change our business model to keep it going. To date, we’ve funded our work through our events, sponsorships and consulting, which are all on hold due to the pandemic. If you find our newsletter to be a valuable resource, we hope you will consider making a one time or monthly contribution, so we can keep the newsletter going and free for those who can not afford a subscription fee. Whether it’s $5 or $500 every bit helps and shows us that you value our work. Not able to contribute right now? You can help by sharing our newsletter with friends and colleagues.
Check out our weekly round-up of last week’s top food startup, tech and innovation news below or peruse the full newsletter here.
Cannabis CEOs say federal legalization of cannabis would provide economic stimulus through tax revenue and job creation during the Covid-19 recovery. Eight states deemed recreational cannabis essential during Covid-19 shutdowns.
Kura Sushi, the largest conveyor belt sushi chain in the US, also announced that it would return its nearly $6m loan.
Shake Shack’s move to return the funds was met with skepticism, as some questioned why the loan was available to to the chain in the first place.
Steakhouse chain says it will return $20 million in coronavirus relief funds after The Treasury Department asked publicly traded companies to repay loans they received this month from a program intended to aid small businesses hurt by the coronavirus pandemic.
A comprehensive critical path laying out foundational tasks to assist restaurants with reopening their doors.
Tyson Foods has declined to say how many of its workers have tested positive for Covid-19.
The plant’s 2,800 employees will continue to be paid, though the company acknowledged that the closure of its plant in Waterloo, Iowa will affect its supply chain of farmers, truckers, distributors and customers.
Meanwhile, another Portland Whole Foods employee has tested positive for the virus at the Hollywood location.
The financial support will include $16b in direct payments to farmers and ranchers: $9.6b to livestock, $3.9b to row crop producers, $2.1b to specialty crop producers and $500m for other crops.
Owners of many small, independent restaurants were passed over by a federal loan program. Now they fear that a new round may not solve their problems.
The world has never faced a hunger emergency like this. It could double the number of people facing acute hunger to 265m by the end of this year.
The expansion of paid sick leave for employers with more than 500 employees has left 85% of essential employees in the grocery, pharmacy and general merchandise industries without mandatory access to Covid-19 related sick leave benefits.
All workers, regardless of immigration status, deserve emergency income and health care. For those of us still on the job, we need enforceable health and safety protections and hazard pay—not lower wages—to compensate us for the risks we are taking to protect our country’s food supply.
The fast casual chain will pay a $25m criminal fine to resolve allegations by federal prosecutors that its food sickened more than 1,100 people across the US from 2015 to 2018.
The government will spend $300m a month to buy fresh produce, dairy and meat products that will be packaged into a box for food banks and other charities. Some $3b will be spent on purchases of surplus foods for donation.