Image Source: Chicago Tribune
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.
As dozens of meatpacking plants across the country have shut down because of coronavirus outbreaks, disruptions in the supply chain are reaching customers at fast food chains and grocery stores. On Monday, one-fifth of Wendy’s restaurants in the US were sold out of beef products. Retailers like Kroger, Costco and Giant Eagle and more have placed a product cap on purchases of beef, pork and poultry.
In turn, the meat shortages are boosting sales of meat alternatives. Impossible Foods will now be sold in Kroger stores nationwide, and Beyond Meat saw its shares jump 49% last month.
Last but not least, Howard Schultz is calling for a Marshall Plan for small businesses, especially the 500,000 independent restaurants that are the most vulnerable businesses in this new era of social distancing.
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.
On Monday, nearly one-fifth of Wendy’s restaurants–over 1k locations–were sold out of beef products. Last week was the fourth week in a row that the number of cattle slaughtered fell below 500k, down more than 35% from average beef production.
Albertsons has limited meat items to two per customer at its Pavilions, Vons, Safeways and Albertsons stores. Kroger also announced that it was limiting the sale of ground beef and pork at its Ralphs and Food 4 Less stores.
Last Friday, pork production was down 42.9% for all US companies. Tyson was short 74% for hogs processed per day. According to the CDC, 130k workers at 115 processing facilities had 4.9k cases and 20 deaths.
The plant-based burger will be sold in more than 1.7k Kroger stores in 28 states as well as the company’s website.
Schultz launched The Plate Fund to provide $500 grants to the hardest hit food service workers in the Seattle area. It’s now on course to distribute $7m to 14k eligible workers. But providing money alone is not sufficient.
The department said this will allow more products to be distributed to communities nationwide, while giving financial support to struggling producers. The buys will include fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy and seafood.
One of the largest coronavirus outbreaks in the US has been inside the Smithfield pork factory in Sioux Falls. A worker at the plant, a refugee who survived civil war and malaria, finds her life and livelihood threatened anew.
In NYC, where COVID-19 has hit harder than anywhere else in the country, the number of people dying in the restaurant industry is growing. Here’s who they were—and the impact they made.
Natural Products Expo East will go on with considerations for today’s coronavirus challenges. Here’s a letter from show organizer New Hope Network.
Over the next few weeks, the USDA will begin spending $300m a month to buy surplus produce, dairy and meat from distributors and ship them to food banks and charitable groups. New York will give food banks $25m to buy products made from excess milk.
The grocery delivery startup added 300k workers in eight weeks, but Covid-19 is still overtaking it in more ways than one.
The future of Eleven Madison Park is uncertain. It will take millions of dollars to reopen.
Beyond Meat saw its shares jump 49% last month. Meanwhile, venture capitalists have been pouring money into smaller cultured and plant-based meat companies. In mid-April, US sales of these products were double that of the same period last year.
It plans to offer more plant-based products to the food service sector and also introduce a consumer brand called PlantEver at the end of June with both online and offline retailers.
Only about 3% or 4% of grocery spending in the US was online before the pandemic, but that’s surged to 10% to 15%. If the online shopping habit sticks, it could represent a meaningful shift in an industry that’s been slow to go digital.
In the pandemic, “illegal” workers are now deemed “essential” by the federal government.