Technomic: Potential Economic Shock from Coronavirus Pandemic is Unprecedented 

There is wide disagreement about whether COVID-19 will be an economic shock with a sharp recovery or if it will pull the economy into a sluggish recession. The previous worst quarter in U.S. history for GDP was Q2 2009, immediately after the economic crash. That quarter, the GDP dove by 3.9%, a fraction of the projections we are seeing as a result of COVID-19. The economic shock from this event is unprecedented.

Consumer spending on foodservice continues to drop. For the average consumer, Technomic research suggests that spending has declined by an estimated 45% from a typical week in February, with further planned reductions expected to come. Consumer demand is still present in the marketplace, but as the pandemic has heightened and concerns have grown, a new normal is setting in. Shelter-in-place and social distancing actions have resulted in...

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IFA Announces New Initiative to Ensure Truck Drivers have Access to Food on the Road

The International Franchise Association (IFA) today announced that it is working with the Owner–Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) and The American Trucking Associations (ATA) on a new project aimed at helping truck drivers to navigate the coronavirus pandemic.

Truck drivers are playing a unique and essential role keeping the economy functioning during this period of social distancing and quarantine. However, because increased restrictions on dine-in options, truck drivers are struggling to eat on the road and facing new challenges as they do their jobs. In short, their trucks are too big to fit in a drive-thru, it’s largely prohibited for..

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Apr 2 4:25 PM, General News

Shake Shack Provides Business Update

Shake Shack provided a business update today on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and steps the Company has taken to conserve cash and increase available liquidity to maximize financial flexibility until current market conditions stabilize.

“We are navigating through an unprecedented time that continues to evolve rapidly. Our message across the company has been to lead with hope, while acting on reality, and to make the necessary choices today to ensure our strength and growth continues for many years to come. We are taking the crucial steps to safeguard the health of our teams and communities, while we work to serve our guests to the best of our ability. In addition to our focus on the pre-ordering convenience of our Shack app and web channels, we are taking this moment to...

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Apr 2 3:33 PM, General News

NRF Chief Economist: Stopping the Pandemic is First Step to Restoring Sound Economy

In the April issue of the National Retail Federation’s Monthly Economic Review, NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz says the coronavirus pandemic “has triggered shocks” – but that the underlying economy is sound.

“How quickly the country gets a handle on containing the virus will determine the degree of the impact on the economy and how soon businesses can reopen,” Kleinhenz wrote in the report. “We expect a severe contraction, and if the nation doesn’t get the virus under control the fallout will be worse.”

Gross domestic product that was growing at a 2.1 percent annual rate at the end of 2019 is “about to go into a mandated nosedive,” according to the report. And retail sales data for March...

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Apr 2 3:27 PM, General News

U.S. Plant-Based Retail Market Worth $5 Billion, Growing at 5X Total Food Sales

New data released today by the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA) and The Good Food Institute (GFI) shows U.S. retail sales of plant-based foods have grown 11.4 percent in the past year, bringing the total plant-based market value to $5 billion.

The total U.S. retail food market has grown just 2.2 percent in dollar sales during this same period—and was flat in unit sales—showing that plant-based foods are a key driver of growth for retailers nationwide. This data covers the total grocery marketplace and was commissioned from SPINS.

The leading drivers of plant-based sales continue to be plant-based milks, meat, dairy alternatives in general, and plant-based meals. Sales of plant-based milks grew 5 percent over the past year, now making up 14 percent of...

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Apr 2 3:03 PM, General News

Technomic: Potential Economic Shock from Coronavirus Pandemic is Unprecedented 

There is wide disagreement about whether COVID-19 will be an economic shock with a sharp recovery or if it will pull the economy into a sluggish recession. The previous worst quarter in U.S. history for GDP was Q2 2009, immediately after the economic crash. That quarter, the GDP dove by 3.9%, a fraction of the projections we are seeing as a result of COVID-19. The economic shock from this event is unprecedented.

Consumer spending on foodservice continues to drop. For the average consumer, Technomic research suggests that spending has declined by an estimated 45% from a typical week in February, with further planned reductions expected to come. Consumer demand is still present in the marketplace, but as the pandemic has heightened and concerns have grown, a new normal is setting in. Shelter-in-place and social distancing actions have resulted in...

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Apr 2 2:44 PM, General News

Canada's Food Price Report: Food Prices Expected to Rise 4% in 2020

Both Dalhousie University and the University of Guelph are issuing an update on Agri-food Analytics Lab's forecast for Canada's food prices for 2020. In December of last year, it was forecasted that food prices would increase between 2 and 4 percent, with meat increasing between 4 and 6 percent.

Considering the coronavirus pandemic, the analytics lab does not believe the overall forecast for food prices in 2020 will change. According to the update, food prices are expected to increase by no more than 4 percent, as predicted in December 2019. However, retail and processing sectors are under pressure to change food safety practices, to make customers feel safer. These new protocols will require...

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Apr 2 1:54 PM, General News

ANALYSIS: Pork Bellies Collapse to 1999 Levels

The last time pork bellies were trading at this level, you were probably more concerned with Y2K than what to do with excess bellies. We’re forced to turn the history books back to 1999 to see...

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Apr 2 8:19 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: Turkey Thigh Meat and Pork Hams: Feeling the Export Pressure

Marketers of turkey thigh meat and boneless pork hams are certainly no stranger to some cross-protein competition...

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Apr 2 8:19 AM, Urner Barry

Kroger Provides Business Update Related to COVID-19

The Kroger Co. filed its annual report on Form 10-K and announced business updates in response to the impact from the novel coronavirus.

"Kroger's most urgent priority is to provide a safe environment for associates and customers, with open stores, comprehensive digital solutions and an efficiently-operating supply chain, so that our communities have access to fresh, affordable food and essentials," said Rodney McMullen, Kroger's chairman and CEO. "We are so proud of our dedicated associates who are on the front lines serving our customers when they need us most. A huge thank you to all of our associates, whose efforts are nothing short of heroic."

After experiencing strong sales in February, the COVID-19 pandemic triggered a significantly greater lift in...

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Apr 2 8:18 AM, General News

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Provides Business and Operational Update Related to COVID-19

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. announced several measures it is taking in response to the escalating COVID-19 pandemic.

Paul J.B. Murphy III, Red Robin’s President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “We are navigating an unprecedented time for our business, industry and country as we collectively work to combat the global COVID-19 crisis. With the health, safety, and well-being of Red Robin’s Team Members, Guests and communities as our top priority, we have shifted our restaurants to an off-premise model and are strictly adhering to CDC, state and local guidelines.”

Murphy added, “We are encouraged by our continuing off-premise sales momentum, which has more than doubled over the past two weeks compared to our trends before the impact of COVID-19. This will help mitigate the decline in comparable restaurant revenues due to the closure of dine-in services at substantially all Red Robin-operated restaurants and enable us to...

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Apr 2 8:18 AM, General News

Boston Market Puts Easter Dinner On the Table with Convenient Options

Boston Market is making it easier to put a home-style dinner on the table this Easter with free delivery, curbside pickup and numerous complete meal options now available. With selections that can be preordered and picked up (or available curbside) at restaurants across the country or shipped directly to your front door for free, Boston Market hopes to make family time the focus this Easter with simple meal solutions for all.

"With all that is happening around the world right now, we know that Easter celebrations will be different, and smaller, this year," said Boston Market Chief Executive Officer Eric Wyatt. "Our team at Boston Market would like to help with any type of Easter meal you might be planning, with numerous convenient options available for pickup, home delivery or...

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Apr 2 8:17 AM, General News

Performance Food Group Announces Partnerships and Corporate Actions

Performance Food Group Company announced several new partnerships and corporate actions to strengthen its business during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“As we all adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic, our company is in a crucial position to keep our country’s food supply chain strong,” said George Holm, PFG Chairman, President & CEO. “We are proud of the tremendous effort and dedication shown by our talented associates who are working tirelessly to keep people fed during this time. In addition to working with our existing customers, we have formed several new partnerships, brought in new business and shared many of our associates with organizations that are experiencing labor shortages. PFG is also diligently assessing and managing how we spend our capital so that we are in the best financial position possible. With our new partnerships and...

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Apr 1 2:39 PM, General News

Consumer Confidence Index Declined Sharply in March

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index declined sharply in March, following an increase in February. The Index now stands at 120.0 (1985=100), down from 132.6 in February. The Present Situation Index – based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions – decreased from 169.3 to 167.7. The Expectations Index – based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business and labor market conditions – declined from 108.1 last month to 88.2 this month.

“Consumer confidence declined sharply in March due to a deterioration in the short-term outlook,” said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “The Present Situation Index remained relatively strong, reflective of an economy that was on solid footing, and prior to the recent surge in unemployment claims. However...

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Apr 1 8:17 AM, General News

U.S. Restaurant Chain Transactions Drop by 36% as Mandated Restaurant Dine-In Closures Take Effect

The mandated restaurant dine-in closures that took effect in most states beginning the week ending March 22 took a toll on U.S. restaurant transactions, reports The NPD Group. Total restaurant customer transactions declined by 36% in the week ending March 22 compared to same week year ago, according to NPD’s CREST Performance Alerts, which provides a rapid weekly view of chain-specific transactions and share trends for 70 quick service, fast casual, midscale, and casual dining chains.

Customer transactions at quick service restaurants, which represent the bulk of restaurant industry transactions and have more off-premise business than full service restaurants, decreased by...

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Apr 1 8:17 AM, General News

Ruth's Hospitality Group Provides Update on COVID-19 Response

Ruth’s Hospitality Group, Inc. announced steps that the Company has taken to implement conservative cash management strategies designed to increase available liquidity and maximize financial flexibility until the COVID-19 pandemic abates and market conditions stabilize.

“The safety and well-being of our team members and guests is our priority in these challenging times. Our brand has a rich history of rising to the occasion and I am proud of our team’s response to this unprecedented situation,” said Cheryl Henry, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ruth’s Hospitality Group, Inc. “Our management team and Board of Directors have...

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Apr 1 8:16 AM, General News

Nikolaus Schimpf, Industry Icon, Passes Away 

Nikolaus Schimpf, age 91, of Dousman passed away on Thursday, March 26, 2020, at Angels Grace Hospice. Nick was born on December 6, 1928, to Michael and Maria (Stein) Schimpf in Yugoslavia. He married the love of his life, Helen Russ in Milwaukee on May 30, 1953.

Nick immigrated from Austria into the U.S. in 1951 to Cairo, IL. Four months later, he moved to Milwaukee to work at Harnischfeger Co. He also worked in construction as a mason at the Lakefront. In 1958, Nick and his father-in-law started the S&R Egg Farm. The farm has grown into the largest farm in the state with over 5 million egg laying chickens. The farm is currently operated by...

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Mar 31 11:20 AM, General News

Egg Industry Icon, Fred R. Adams Jr., Passes Away 

Cal-Maine Foods, Inc. announced that Fred R. Adams, Jr., the Company’s Founder and Chairman Emeritus, died on Sunday, March 29, 2020, at the age of 88, following an extended illness. 

Adams founded Adams Egg Company in 1957, which was the predecessor to Cal-Maine Foods, Inc., incorporated in 1969. He served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Company until 2012, at which time he was named Chairman Emeritus. Under his leadership, Cal-Maine Foods experienced significant growth to become the largest producer and distributor of fresh shell eggs in the United States with fiscal 2019 sales of approximately 1.039 billion dozen shell eggs, representing approximately 19 percent of domestic shell egg consumption in the United States. Adams was well respected throughout the egg industry and remained active in...

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Mar 31 11:11 AM, General News

NPPC Cancels 2020 World Pork Expo 

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) today announced that its board of directors has decided to cancel the 2020 World Pork Expo in June due to COVID-19 human health concerns. World Pork Expo 2021 is scheduled for June 9-11 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

“While deeply disappointed to cancel this year’s Expo, NPPC’s board of directors unanimously agreed it was prudent to make this decision now,” said NPPC President Howard “A.V.” Roth, a pork producer from Wauzeka, Wisconsin. “By eliminating COVID 19-related uncertainty surrounding the event, we allow producers and others across the industry to focus on the essential role we play in the nation’s food supply system at this critical time.”

“We will do our part to support the nation’s transition back to...

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Mar 31 9:24 AM, General News

Asian Consumers Are Rethinking How They Eat Past COVID-19 

Consumers across Asia have signaled their eating habits may change permanently once the world moves beyond the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). In an exclusive Nielsen study of 11 Asian markets, only Japanese consumers say they are less likely to change their eating habits as a result of the global pandemic.

The study, the first in a wave of Nielsen explorations underway across 74 markets, indicates that consumers in Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, South Korea, Malaysia and Vietnam will rethink and re-prioritize the place eating at home has in their lives. In Chinese mainland, 86% said they would eat at home more often than before the outbreak. In other markets, a similar trend was observed with 77% of consumers in Hong Kong planning to eat at home more often than...

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Mar 31 8:17 AM, General News

Restaurants Offer Deals to Boost Traffic During the Coronavirus Pandemic 

Now that President Trump has extended social distancing guidelines until April 30th, consumers should expect to get food delivered, takeout, or from the drive-thru for the next month when they want to dine out. Restaurants are offering incentives to get consumers to eat away from home to generate income during these unprecedented times.

Taco Bell announced that the chain wants to give back to Americans this Tuesday, with a free Doritos Locos Taco for drive-thru guests. The restaurant is also offering free delivery through GrubHub on all orders more than $12.00. The chain will also be transforming its Taco Bell Trucks to...

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Mar 31 8:17 AM, Urner Barry

State Beef Councils Win Major Legal Victory

The Beef Checkoff program and fifteen grassroots-led state beef councils won a major court victory today when the United States District Court of Montana ruled in favor of USDA and the Montana Beef Council in the matter of R-CALF vs. Sonny Perdue and USDA.

NCBA praised the court’s decision, which ends a legal battle that has spanned more than three years and interrupted beef promotion functions in Montana. The case had threatened local input and promotion efforts at the state level across the country.

“The foundation of the Beef Checkoff has always been state beef councils that collect checkoff funds and determine how those investments are used for research, marketing and...

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Mar 31 8:16 AM, General News

Retail Fresh Produce Demand Soars, but Landmines Remain During Coronavirus Pandemic 

The COVID-19 situation has created a surge in fresh produce demand in retail grocery, but challenges around foodservice, logistics, macroeconomics, and labor availability pose ongoing threats. While fresh produce sales through foodservice channels have largely dried up, consumers continue to stock up on grocery items, including fresh produce.

Logistics have been strained, both globally and domestically, but the industry is adapting rapidly. The imminent global recession and rapid climb in the value of the US dollar will continue to threaten global demand, even after the virus is contained. Labor availability constraints and increases in...

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Mar 31 8:16 AM, General News

CHART: Industry Expectations for Weekly Cattle Slaughter

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Mar 30 3:44 PM, Urner Barry

Mar 30 11:27 AM, Urner Barry

VIDEO: New COMTELL Spotlight - Improved Charting and History Pages

Our team at Urner Barry has been working relentlessly on an overhaul of our flagship online service COMTELL.  Today we are putting a spotlight on...

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Perdue Farms Confirms Positive Case of COVID-19 at Georgia Production Facility 

Perdue Farms learned that an Associate at the Perry, Georgia Cook Plant, who has not been to work for more than a week, has tested positive for COVID-19. Perdue is unable to disclose additional details around this individual in accordance with privacy laws. Upon receiving this notification, the company immediately enacted its pandemic response protocols, which follow strict guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including:

  • Notifying and coordinating response procedures with all pertinent parties (local health officials, onsite USDA inspector, Perdue HR and Wellness Staff, Coronavirus Response Leader, and facility Director of Operations...
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Mar 30 9:46 AM, General News

Cal-Maine Foods Reports Third Quarter Fiscal 2020 Results

Cal-Maine Foods, Inc. reported results for the third quarter ended February 29, 2020.

Net sales for the third quarter of fiscal 2020 were $345.6 million, a 10.0 percent decrease, compared to $384.0 million for the third quarter of fiscal 2019. The Company reported net income of $13.7 million, or $0.28 per basic and diluted share, for the third quarter of fiscal 2020, compared to net income of $39.8 million, or $0.82 per basic and diluted share, for the third quarter of fiscal 2019.

For the thirty-nine weeks ended February 29, 2020, net sales were $898.3 million compared to $1,080.6 million for the prior-year period. The Company reported net loss of $42.1 million, or...

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Mar 30 8:46 AM, General News

Urner Barry's Coronavirus Special Report

Urner Barry is the leading provider of protein market news and information in the food industry. Through daily canvasses of the trade and an unrivaled historical database, our analysts are uniquely positioned to report on underlying conditions and significant disruptors to the market.

In this special report, Urner Barry reporters outline the biggest impacts in the commodity protein markets seen so far due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. The insights provided here are powered by Urner Barry’s premier information platform, COMTELL. The situation continues to develop...

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Mar 27 9:30 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: Assessing COVID-19’s Initial Impact on the Chicken Market

Although COVID-19 is a relatively new challenge here in the US, its acute and unparalleled impact on spot market dynamics cannot be overstated...

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Mar 27 8:34 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: Egg Prices Begin to Stabilize as Consumer Shopping Slows, Demand Normalizes

Following weeks of unrelenting demand, market sources from coast to coast are beginning to see retail orders for eggs...

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Mar 27 8:27 AM, Urner Barry

Wendy's Provides Coronavirus Update and Actions Taken

The Wendy's Company announced an update on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Company's business.

"This is an unprecedented time, and we are focused on the actions where we can make a positive difference. To that end, we have taken several precautionary steps to advance public health goals, maintain essential access to high quality food, support our franchisees, and safeguard our team members and customers from the spread of COVID-19," said President and CEO Todd Penegor. "As we navigate any challenges we face, we'll do it...

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Mar 27 8:21 AM, General News

FSIS Loosens Labeling Enforcement, Allows Foodservice Items Easier Access to Retail

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced labeling flexibilities for products that were initially intended to head to the foodservice sector but have been rerouted for retail establishments.

FSIS broke down three situations which describe how product can move to retail with certain labeling deviations. These new allowances only apply to product that has already undergone production.

Product that is being produced is expected to meet all requirements.

Labeling at a Federal Establishment

Products made at a Federal establishment intended for HRI...

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Mar 27 8:20 AM, SeafoodNews

Industry Reacts to Senate Passage of the Coronavirus Stimulus Package

The $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package is expected to pass in Congress. The Senate passed the legislation Wednesday evening and the House is set to vote today. The bill includes $250 billion to make unemployment insurance available to more categories of workers and to extend the duration of benefits. About $150 billion will go to states, distributed according to population size. Another $349 billion will be used as loans for small businesses.

Matthew Shay, President and CEO of the National Retail Federation, said, "Companies that were investing, growing and contributing to a vibrant economy just a few weeks ago have been thrust into survival mode through no fault of their own." The Federation spoke on behalf of the retail industry in a press release by expressing appreciation for the efforts by leaders in Congress and President Trump to...

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Mar 27 8:17 AM, Urner Barry

National Restaurant Association Cancels Upcoming May Show

The National Restaurant Association Show, which was set to take place in Chicago from May 16-19, has been canceled. 

“After many weeks of monitoring the evolving situation around COVID-19, including guidance from the CDC and the Governor of Illinois, it is with great regret that we announce the unavoidable cancellation of this year’s National Restaurant Association Show,” an update on the show website explained. 

This is not the only food show to be canceled due to the coronavirus. Natural Products Expo West, which was set for...

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Mar 26 11:56 AM, SeafoodNews

Coronavirus Impact Leads to Highest Unemployment Claims in U.S. History 

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, during the week ending March 21st, the increase in initial unemployment claims due to the impact of the coronavirus reached a record high. States are continuing to cite service industries broadly, particularly foodservice. Additional industries also cited include social services, transportation, warehouses, and manufacturing industries.

A record 3,283,000 people filed claims for unemployment in the United States last week as the coronavirus pandemic shut down large parts of the economy. The labor department reported that the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims showed an increase of 3,001,000 from the previous week's revised level.

This marks the highest level of claims in the history of the seasonally adjusted series. The previous high was 695,000 in October of 1982. The previous week's level was revised up by...

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Mar 26 10:41 AM, Urner Barry

An Updated List of Every State That Has Closed Restaurants Due to the Coronavirus 

Editor's note: This story was updated at 12:15 p.m. on Thursday, March 26.

With cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the U.S. continuing to grow, a number of states are taking action to stop the spread. Lawmakers across the country have implemented bans on restaurants and bars, as well as large gatherings. Some states have yet to take such action, but restaurants on an individual level are choosing to shutter for the time being.

Meanwhile, President Trump recommended on Monday afternoon that people avoid... 

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Mar 26 8:26 AM, SeafoodNews

ANALYSIS: Heightened Buyer Urgency Contributing to Reduced Turkey Stocks

Despite the pre-occupation with COVID-19 and its impact on the global protein markets as a whole, turkey freezer stocks are providing...

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Mar 26 8:26 AM, Urner Barry

Yum Brands Closing 7,000 Stores Globally Due to COVID-19

Yum Brands is closing 1,000 Pizza Hut Express outlets and at least 900 U.K. KFC stores in a group of 7,000 restaurant outlets the Louisville, Kentucky-based company said it is closing globally, according to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing and the Louisville Courier-Journal newspaper.

As the parent company of those two brands, as well as the Mexican-American QSR, Taco Bell, and the fast casual brand it just closed the sale on this month, The Habit Burger Grill, Yum has approximately 50,000 outlets globally.

The SEC filing relayed that the cause for the closings was the current COVID-19 pandemic and...

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Mar 26 8:22 AM, Urner Barry

Restaurants in America Offer Contactless Delivery Similar to China's Model

During the wake of the coronavirus outbreak in China, the country began taking extraordinary steps to prevent the spread of the virus by introducing contactless delivery services to keep customers and employees safe. As part of the process, customers order remotely via mobile phones or computers, and workers seal the meals in bags and place them in a pre-determined location without any human contact.

Some reports stated that these contactless delivery options also come with a card that provides the name and temperature of the person who made the food, as well as the person who delivered it. Quick service chains taking these precautions in China include McDonald's, Starbucks, and...

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Mar 26 8:20 AM, Urner Barry

Coronavirus Cases Continue to Impact Foodservice and Retail 

Cases of COVID-19 are continuing to surface as the virus spreads and more tests become available. States across the country are still enforcing restrictions and guidelines, encouraging people to social distance.

Retailers have gone from limiting hours to closing completely until further notice. Grocery stores are struggling to keep shelves stocked as consumers continue to panic buy and stockpile essentials. Amid all the hysteria, restaurants are creatively finding new ways to serve guests and generate income.

As of March 18th, the National Restaurant Association predicts that the foodservice industry could lose up to $225 billion and 7 million jobs. Mandatory restaurant closures have caused...

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Mar 26 8:20 AM, Urner Barry

Meat Sales Surged 77% the Week of March 15 Amid Growing COVID-19 Cases

The week ending March 8 saw a fast acceleration of meat sales in dollars, units and volume. As the number of school closures, social distancing guidelines and other COVID-19 related measures significantly sharpened the subsequent week, sales surged along with it. Thanks to the heroic efforts of everyone in the meat and poultry industry, the supply kept flowing. Retailers restocked their meat cases again and again as shoppers across the country stocked up on meat and poultry to feed their families nutritious meals.

Meat department sales without deli meat were up an incredible 76.9% over the week ending March 15, 2020 versus the comparable week in 2019, according to data insights firm IRI, and deli meat sales advanced...

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Mar 26 8:17 AM, General News


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