COVID-19 Case Spikes Continue to Hinder U.S. Restaurant Recovery in Week Ending June 28

The recovery of U.S. restaurant customer transactions has stalled for the second week in a row as COVID-19 cases continue to increase in a number of states, reports The NPD Group. For the week ending June 28, total customer transactions at major U.S. restaurant chains are down 14% versus the same week a year ago.

Last week, week ending June 21, total transactions were down 13% versus year ago, according to NPD’s CREST Performance Alerts, which provides a rapid weekly view of chain-specific transactions and share trends for 72 quick service, fast casual, midscale, and casual dining chains.

The rise in COVID-19 case counts is causing local and state authorities to delay reopening, and in some cases, reinstating on-premise restaurant dining restrictions. In Texas, for example, restaurants may continue to...

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Joint Statement Between the United States and Kenya on the Launch of Trade Negotiations

United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Kenya Cabinet Secretary for Industrialization, Trade, and Enterprise Development Betty Maina formally launched trade agreement negotiations between the United States and the Republic of Kenya.

“Kenya is a recognized leader across the continent, an important strategic partner of the United States, and there is enormous potential for us to deepen our economic and commercial ties,” said Ambassador Lighthizer. “Under President Trump’s leadership, we look forward to negotiating and concluding a comprehensive, high-standard agreement with Kenya that can serve as a model for...

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Jul 8 3:21 PM, General News



Maple Leaf Foods Releases 2019 Sustainability Report

Maple Leaf Foods, Inc., announced the release of its 2019 Sustainability Report, outlining the company's key programs and achievements during the past year, as well as future initiatives and priorities supporting Maple Leaf Foods' purposeful journey to be the most sustainable protein company on earth.

In 2019, Maple Leaf Foods continued its commitment to sustainability and made meaningful progress, including becoming the first major carbon neutral food company in the world and setting science-based greenhouse gas emissions targets. Maple Leaf Foods' commitment to the environment comes from a recognition that producing nutrient-dense protein takes...

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Jul 8 3:15 PM, General News


Kroger Announces Leadership Changes

The Kroger Co. announced the retirement of Joe Grieshaber, senior vice president and chief merchant, after more than 37 years of distinguished service, effective August 15. Grieshaber will be succeeded by Stuart W. Aitken, currently senior vice president of alternative business and CEO of 84.51˚, Kroger's data analytics subsidiary. Yael Cosset, senior vice president and chief information officer, will assume responsibility for alternative business and 84.51˚.

"Today's leadership announcements are consistent with our positive track record of strong succession planning and will help us to continue to drive transformation of our business and culture, focusing on speed, action and agility to...

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Jul 8 1:52 PM, General News


Applebee's Brings Back Irresist-A-Bowls

Applebee’s is reintroducing Applebee’s Irresist-A-Bowls as the official entrée to welcome guests back into dining rooms across the country.

Each Irresist-A-Bowl comes overflowing with mouthwatering flavor, including the Southwest Chicken Bowl, with the option to upgrade to steak, featuring mixed greens and cilantro rice, topped high with house-made pico de gallo, black bean corn salsa and guacamole. The return of the Tex-Mex Shrimp Bowl is also featured on the menu, as well as the Homestyle Chicken Bowl which is now served with breaded pieces of tender boneless chicken.

“We are excited to ‘Welcome Back’ guests with three great new Irresist-A-Bowls all featured at $7.99. Whether in our restaurants, through Applebee’s To Go or by Delivery, all of our guests can enjoy these...

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Jul 8 8:22 AM, General News


Uber Unveils Grocery Delivery

Uber Technologies, Inc. announced that users in select Latin American and Canadian cities can now order groceries through the Uber and Uber Eats apps, in partnership with Cornershop, the popular grocery delivery startup based in Santiago, Chile. This follows the companies’ 2019 agreement for Uber to acquire a majority stake in Cornershop, which is expected to close in the coming days. Today’s news marks Uber and Cornershop’s first integrated grocery delivery experience.

Uber connects people and communities with the tap of a button, including rides, prepared food, retail goods—and now groceries. Starting today, shoppers in select cities in Latin America, Canada and coming later this month, the United States, can find grocery delivery opportunities through both Uber and Uber Eats apps, furthering Uber’s vision of bringing people closer to...

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Jul 8 8:22 AM, General News


Shake Shack Provides Business Update

Shake Shack Inc. provided a business update given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. With gradual sales recovery progressing and a strong balance sheet, the Company has restarted new Shack development both domestically and internationally as it looks forward to long-term growth.

“As always, and especially during this recovery period, our priority remains the safety of our team and our communities. Amidst our gradual sales recovery, we've started to open new Shacks again and are looking to the significant growth opportunity that we believe lies ahead for Shake Shack. I am so proud of the resilience of our teams in the Shacks, the innovation across our operating model and our relentless efforts to continue to...

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Jul 8 8:21 AM, General News


Production Challenges, Economic Headwinds Slow Red Meat Exports in May

U.S. beef and pork exports trended lower in May, due in part to interruptions in slaughter and processing, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Beef exports dropped well below year-ago levels and recorded the lowest monthly volume in 10 years. Pork exports remained higher than a year ago but were the lowest since October 2019.

“As protective measures related to COVID-19 were being implemented, plant disruptions peaked in early May with a corresponding temporary slowdown in exports,” said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. “Unfortunately the impact was quite severe, especially on...

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Jul 8 8:21 AM, General News


COVID-19 Case Spikes Continue to Hinder U.S. Restaurant Recovery in Week Ending June 28

The recovery of U.S. restaurant customer transactions has stalled for the second week in a row as COVID-19 cases continue to increase in a number of states, reports The NPD Group. For the week ending June 28, total customer transactions at major U.S. restaurant chains are down 14% versus the same week a year ago.

Last week, week ending June 21, total transactions were down 13% versus year ago, according to NPD’s CREST Performance Alerts, which provides a rapid weekly view of chain-specific transactions and share trends for 72 quick service, fast casual, midscale, and casual dining chains.

The rise in COVID-19 case counts is causing local and state authorities to delay reopening, and in some cases, reinstating on-premise restaurant dining restrictions. In Texas, for example, restaurants may continue to...

Full Story »
Jul 8 8:20 AM, General News


Urner Barry's Reporter Summer 2020 Issue Released; Read It Online For Free Now

A brand-new issue of Urner Barry's Reporter is out now!

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Jul 8 8:20 AM, Urner Barry

Purple Carrot Launches New Single Serve, Frozen Meals in Retail

Purple Carrot, known for its e-commerce subscription plant-based meal kit, announced their new 100% plant-based, single serve meals are now available in the frozen aisle at most Whole Foods Market stores across the country. Purple Carrot created these meals with the same flavor profiles and nutritional philosophies that are core to its meal kit offering.

The frozen foods market has been growing exponentially during the last few years, specifically for products that align with consumer demand for more plant-based options, according to the National Frozen and Refrigerated Foods Association.

"As more and more consumers are seeking to add plant-based options to their weekly routines but aren't ready to commit to a full lifestyle change, these single-serve meals offer a perfect way to...

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Jul 8 8:20 AM, General News


Ghost Kitchens on the Rise in a Post-COVID World

The coronavirus pandemic has hit the restaurant industry hard, with the Independent Restaurant Coalition reporting that 85% of independent restaurants may go out of business by the end of the end of the year. While some restaurants were forced to temporarily close, others focused on making sales through delivery and takeout. And with COVID-19 changing the way that some people eat out, some restaurants, like Pokeworks, are looking to the future.

Pokeworks launched in 2015 and has grown to over 50 locations all over the country...

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Jul 7 12:16 PM, Urner Barry


Colorado Passes Cage-Free Egg Law

Colorado egg producers were just given a deadline by the state legislature to convert all hen housing to cage-free by 2025. The bill, HB20-1343, passed in the state legislature last month and was signed into law by Governor Jared Polis. The bill was sponsored by Representative Dylan Roberts, and Senator Kerry Donovan. Colorado is joining states like California, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington, and Michigan, which have all passed cage-free egg laws.

Cage-free egg legislation has forced farmers to create new housing facilities including scratching areas, perches, nest boxes, and dust-bathing areas. These cage-free housing systems also incorporate adequate lighting and ventilation. Meanwhile, the majority of consumers show a preference for the cheapest egg available, which is typically...

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Jul 7 8:20 AM, Urner Barry


Uber to Acquire Postmates; Will Keep Consumer-Facing App Running Separately 

Uber announced on Tuesday that they have reached a definitive agreement to acquire Postmates for approximately $2.65 billion in an all-stock transaction. The deal, once completed, will keep the consumer-facing Postmates app running separately.

As we reported last week, Uber was said to be in talks to buy Postmates after their deal with Grubhub fell apart in June. The New York Times reported that Uber made an offer of about $2.6 billion, however, their offer came at the same time that Postmates reportedly decided to...

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Jul 7 8:19 AM, Urner Barry


Fast Casual Restaurant Market to Reach $209.1 Billion by 2027 

According to Allied Market Research, the global fast casual restaurant market garnered $125.6 billion in 2019, and is estimated to reach $209.1 billion by 2027, registering a CAGR of 10.6% from 2021 to 2027.

Drivers, Restraints, and Opportunities:

Increase in popularity of fast casual restaurants, low entry barriers, and high profits resulting drive the growth of the global fast casual restaurant market. However, high cost compared to quick service restaurants hinders the market growth. On the other hand, early adoption of technologies and hygienic cooking environment are anticipated to offer...

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Jul 7 8:19 AM, General News


Senators Coons, Wicker Request Financial Assistance for Chicken Farmers Impacted by COVID-19

Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) led a letter signed by 17 other senators requesting direct financial assistance for chicken farmers that have been financially impacted by COVID-19.

“As the chicken industry in Delaware and across the country continues to cope with reduced demand and processing capacity, chicken farmers have experienced a big hit to their bottom lines. In many instances, farmers are receiving fewer birds on a less frequent basis, and in some cases, they have been forced to depopulate millions of healthy birds.

Although other farmers have benefited from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, chicken farmers have not received any assistance and...

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Jul 7 8:18 AM, General News


Rabobank Poultry Quarterly Q3 2020: Fragile Recovery After COVID-19 Storm

The global poultry industry is recovering from a storm that hit in 1H 2020, and the outlook is gradually improving. Poultry demand will be more bullish in 2H, as COVID-19 containment measurements are eased, lifting demand through foodservice.

Poultry demand is expected to improve in 2H. The biggest market driver will be the economic downturn, making global markets more volatile and price driven. Such conditions are generally positive for poultry, being the cheapest meat protein with a short and flexible production cycle.

Prices will see some recovery after historic lows in 1H. Breast meat should benefit from the reopening of foodservice, although...

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Jul 7 8:18 AM, General News


CHART: Industry Expectations for Weekly Cattle Slaughter

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Jul 6 3:03 PM, Urner Barry


Bloomin’ Brands Announces Board of Directors Changes

Bloomin’ Brands, Inc. and JANA Partners LLC announced the addition of John P. Gainor, Jr. and Lawrence V. Jackson to the Bloomin’ Brands Board of Directors. In April, the two companies announced an agreement that included an increase to the size of the Board to ten members. The new positions filled by Gainor and Jackson became effective July 1, 2020.

Gainor served as the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of International Dairy Queen, a franchisor of quick service restaurants, and a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway from 2008 until he retired in 2017. He joined Dairy Queen in 2003 and served as the Chief Supply Chain Officer prior to his role as CEO. Gainor is also a member of the Board of Directors for Jack in the Box, Inc. and Saia, Inc.

Jackson served as President and CEO of Global Procurement and Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer at Walmart, and in various executive roles at...

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Jul 6 8:20 AM, General News


Wingstop Opens First Ghost Kitchen in U.S.

Wingstop has announced the opening of its first domestic ghost kitchen located in the brand’s hometown of Dallas.

At the onset of COVID-19 in March 2020, Wingstop moved quickly to close its dining rooms and shift to 100% off-premise. Wingstop was well-positioned based on its pre-COVID investments in digital and technology platforms, allowing for the brand to seamlessly shift from 80% off-premise and adapt to the change in consumers’ dining behaviors. The resiliency of Wingstop was demonstrated in its April 2020 same-store sales growth of 33.4% and 65% digital sales, which included a delivery sales mix of more than 30% of total sales.

“We have a goal to digitize 100% of transactions as we drive to become a top 10 global restaurant brand and we believe ghost kitchens are a great step for the brand as...

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Jul 6 8:20 AM, General News


Global Food Commodity Prices Rebound in June

In June, global food commodity prices rose for the first time since the beginning of the year driven by a rebound in vegetable oils, sugar and dairy quotations. However, in the cereals and meat markets, most prices remained under downward pressure amid market uncertainties posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The FAO Food Price Index, which tracks international prices of the most traded food commodities, averaged 93.2 points in June, some 2.4 percent higher than the previous month.

The FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index gained 11.3 percent in June, after declining for four consecutive months. The rebound mainly reflects a sharp rise in palm oil prices due to recovering global import demand, following...

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Jul 6 8:19 AM, General News


Denny's Corporation and its Franchisees Hiring 10,000 Restaurant Employees Nationwide

Denny's announced its plans to hire 10,000 restaurant-level employees at both company and franchise operated restaurants across the United States by the end of 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unemployment to rise, impacting countless Americans, and Denny's is committed to helping people get back to work. Denny's Corporation and its franchisees are helping to jumpstart hiring across the U.S., by providing job opportunities to future employees.

With dine-in restrictions lifting and guests returning to restaurants as well as taking advantage of takeout and delivery options, Denny's is encouraging people, especially those in the severely impacted restaurant industry, to apply for a position at one of its franchises or company-owned restaurants around the country. As demand for dine-in service grows, Denny's hopes to employ jobseekers from a variety of diverse backgrounds, boost morale in local communities and play a part in the nationwide effort to...

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Jul 6 8:19 AM, General News


Taco Bell Unveils Grilled Cheese Burrito

Taco Bell is now introducing grilled cheese, thanks to the all-new Grilled Cheese Burrito. The burrito draws inspiration from the classic grilled cheese sandwich. It features fan favorite fillings like seasoned beef, seasoned rice, a three-cheese blend, crunchy red strips, chipotle sauce and reduced fat sour cream, all wrapped with a warm flour tortilla hugged by a warm layer of grilled cheese. Guests can also enjoy a vegetarian version by simply asking to swap beans for meat.

Available for a limited time and while supplies last, the Grilled Cheese Burrito is served at participating U.S locations a la carte for $2.99, or part of a $5 Box and comes with a Crunchy Taco, Cinnamon Twists and a medium soda drink. It was first tested in...

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Jul 2 11:47 AM, General News


NRF Chief Economist Says Pandemic Recession Could Already be Easing but 'No One Has a Crystal Ball'

The economic downturn brought on by the coronavirus pandemic has officially been declared a recession, but National Retail Federation Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said today the key question is how long it will last.

“Will this recession be briefer than earlier recessions?” Kleinhenz said. “No one has a crystal ball. And just as it can take months to be certain a recession has begun, it can take time to declare when one is over.”

“While it would be unusual for a recession to last less than six months, it is possible that the current one could have already ended with May’s rebound,” Kleinhenz said. “The good news is that the recession may have...

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Jul 2 11:26 AM, General News


Industry Reacts to Implementation of USMCA 

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement has officially entered into force, replacing NAFTA. The USDA stated that this improved agreement is a better deal for America's farmers, consumers, and workers that will set them up for success for decades to come.

Sonny Perdue, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, said, "USMCA creates more market access for farmers from across our nation to sell their wholesome and nutritious products to our closest neighbors. This is a better deal for America that will grow our economy and put more money in the pockets of American families.”

Robert Lighthizer, United States Trade Representative, stated, "This marks the beginning of a new and better chapter for trade between the United States, Mexico and Canada, just as President Trump promised he would deliver for the American people." Lighthizer added that the USMCA contains significant improvements and...

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Jul 2 10:50 AM, Urner Barry


ANALYSIS: Chiming in on the Mid-Year Turkey Market

As we usher in Q3, and in the absence of any major deviations in this week’s overall market environment, we thought it would be a great opportunity to break away from...

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Jul 2 8:22 AM, Urner Barry


NCBA Applauds Introduction of DIRECT Act

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) applauded the introduction of the bipartisan legislation to create new direct-to-consumer options for beef producers, processors and small meat markets without compromising federal food safety standards or market access under existing trade agreements.

Introduced by U.S. Representatives Dusty Johnson (R - At-Large, SD) and Henry Cuellar (D - 28th Dist., TX), the Direct Interstate Retail Exemption for Certain Transactions (DIRECT) Act of 2020 would amend retail exemptions under current law to allow meat processed under state-inspected establishments to be sold across state lines through e-commerce, providing beef producers and local processors alike with...

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Jul 2 8:22 AM, General News


General Mills Reports Results for Fiscal 2020 and Outlines Fiscal 2021 Priorities

General Mills reported results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended May 31, 2020. Fiscal 2020 was a 53-week year, with the extra week falling in the fourth quarter.

“I’m proud of the way our organization has remained focused on serving the needs of our consumers and communities while protecting the health and safety of our employees throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” said General Mills Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Harmening. “Amid significant challenge and change in the world around us, General Mills adapted and executed in fiscal 2020 to deliver outstanding financial results while fulfilling our purpose of making food the world loves. We’ve demonstrated extraordinary agility to meet the unprecedented increase in demand for food at home and to win across our categories.

“As we turn to fiscal 2021, we’ll maintain a sharp focus on the near-term opportunity to meet continued elevated demand while continuing to advance our long-term strategies by...

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Jul 2 8:21 AM, General News


After Two Months of Steady Improvements, Restaurant Recovery Hits a Bump as COVID-19 Cases Surge

Customer transactions at major U.S. restaurant chains declined by 13% in the week ending June 21 versus the same week a year ago, which is slightly softer than the 12% decline in the previous week, reports The NPD Group. This is the first time since the week ending April 12 there has not been an improvement in the year-over-year trend. COVID-19 case surges in a number of states contributed to the backtrack in decline improvements. The current period also included Father’s Day, which unlike Mother’s Day, is more of a backyard BBQ occasion than a restaurant dining event.

With new COVID-19 cases suddenly surging across multiple states, some of the states that have been reporting the highest number of new cases experienced steeper declines in major restaurant chain customer transactions in week ending June 21. Arizona, with a well-publicized surge in cases, saw a 5-point decline in...

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Jul 2 8:21 AM, General News


NYC Pulls Back on Indoor Dining as U.S. Sees Biggest One-Day COVID-19 Spike Since Start of Pandemic

New York City is not taking any chances when it comes to the coronavirus. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Wednesday that indoor dining will no longer move ahead as scheduled.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has been reopening the state by regions. New York City, which was one of the regions hit the hardest by the coronavirus, was expected to enter Phase 3 of reopening on Monday, July 6. Phase 3 was supposed to include indoor dining at no more...

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Jul 2 8:21 AM, Urner Barry


Urner Barry Announces Enhancements to Imported Beef Reporting

July 2, 2020, Toms River, NJ – Urner Barry, the leading provider of protein market news and information in the food industry, is announcing changes to the reporting methodologies for the imported beef market.

Urner Barry initiated imported beef market coverage in 1962. We are continuously soliciting feedback from participants to ensure that our coverage reflects current trading conditions and practices. To improve market transparency and to provide stakeholders meaningful information, Urner Barry will make the following changes to its imported beef reporting methodologies...

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Jul 2 8:20 AM, Urner Barry


Seven Lessons Foodservice Can Learn from a Pandemic 

As states begin to reopen, restaurants are adapting to a new normal to welcome diners back. These adaptions include providing outdoor seating, incorporating stricter sanitary procedures, and paperless menus. According to a recent report by Datassential, there are seven lessons foodservice operators can learn from the COVID-19 pandemic that will benefit their business going forward. 

The first lesson is goodbye fear, hello caution. As more places begin to ease coronavirus restrictions, consumers are feeling more comfortable returning to public spaces if certain safety measures are met. After restrictions are lifted, about 63% of those surveyed feel safe eating at a restaurant with outdoor dining. Around 54% feel safe returning to a convenience store, and the same percentage feel comfortable with...

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Jul 2 8:20 AM, Urner Barry


More Food Delivery Consolidation? Uber in Talks to Buy Postmates

Another major acquisition in the food delivery world could potentially be in the works. Uber is reportedly in talks to buy Postmates after their deal with Grubhub fell apart a few weeks ago.

While Uber and Postmates have declined to comment, The New York Times reported on Monday that Uber made an offer to acquire Postmates for about $2.6 billion. However, their offer comes at the same time that Postmates has reportedly decided to revive their plan for an initial public offering. Postmates, which is considered the fourth largest...

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Jul 2 8:19 AM, Urner Barry




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