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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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 2 1:23 PM, General News



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 2 1:16 PM, 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 2 12:56 PM, 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 2 12:50 PM, 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...

Full Story »
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


Weather Poses Significant Risk to U.S. Corn Crop Entering Critical Pollination Phase

After last year's delayed start to the season, planting of the 2020 U.S. corn crop brought with it quite a bit of optimism for producers across the Heartland. Now, according to Planalytics AgriBusiness Weather group, that optimism may have tempered somewhat as a combination of hot, dry conditions have taken hold from the Dakotas south to Missouri and east to Ohio.

"No sooner did seed get in the ground when an unusually cold pattern set up that continued through the first two weeks of May", says Jeffrey Doran, Planalytics AgriBusiness Meteorologist and Director, Specialized Support and Services. "Sub-freezing temperatures were reported as far south as the Missouri Valley and Mid-South regions that slowed crop development. By the end of May, the pattern reversed itself bringing surges of strong heat that have continued into June. Unfortunately, precipitation has been hit or miss with...

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Jul 1 9:19 AM, General News


ANALYSIS: U.S. Protein Inventories Drawn Down During Plant Closures

U.S. cold storage stocks declined across the beef, pork, chicken, and egg categories in May as product was needed to...

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Jul 1 8:26 AM, Urner Barry


Taco Bell Amps Up Digital Experience with New Loyalty Program

Taco Bell is now expanding its digital experience for customers to make it even more rewarding.

“We’re excited to elevate our digital ecosystem and bring our biggest fans an even more convenient, safe, and rewarding experience at Taco Bell,” said Taco Bell’s Vice President of Digital, Zipporah Allen. “Exclusive experiences in our app - like a free Chalupa Cravings Box and earning points towards free food with Taco Bell Rewards - are just the start of the many digital initiatives that we plan to bring fans throughout the year.”

The brand is also launching a beta version of Taco Bell Rewards, a way for fans to earn free tacos (and more) for eating tacos. The loyalty program begins to rollout via the Taco Bell app nationwide in...

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Jul 1 8:26 AM, General News


The Consumer Confidence Index Increased in June

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index increased in June, after virtually no change in May. The Index now stands at 98.1 (1985=100), up from 85.9 in May. The Present Situation Index – based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions – improved from 68.4 to 86.2. The Expectations Index – based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions – increased from 97.6 in May to 106.0 this month.

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and analytics around what consumers buy and watch. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was...

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Jul 1 8:25 AM, General News


Papa John’s Provides Business Update on Ongoing Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic

Papa John’s International, Inc. provided an additional update on the ongoing business impact of the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, including preliminary estimated comparable sales information for the June month and second quarter fiscal periods. In light of the uncertainty and volatility related to the pandemic, the company has continued to provide this information on a monthly basis.

Rob Lynch, President & CEO said, “In June Papa John’s delivered a third consecutive month of double-digit sales growth in North America and strong growth internationally. Continued strong results reflect both the hard work of our team members and local franchisees, as well as the trust that we have earned from millions of customers who have...

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Jul 1 8:25 AM, General News


Shake Shack Plans to Expand in China

Shake Shack Inc. and licensee Maxim’s Caterers Limited announced an expanded partnership, with plans to open a minimum of 15 Shacks in South China by 2030, including locations in Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Fuzhou and Xiamen.

Together, Shake Shack and Maxim's Caterers Limited plan to operate 55 Shacks in mainland China by 2030. Maxim’s currently operates Shake Shack locations in Shanghai and Hong Kong, with Beijing and Macau in development with goals to open later in 2020. As a well-respected and proven operator in Asia, Maxim's has more than 60 years of experience in the food, beverage and retail sectors, and its diversified operations include...

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Jul 1 8:24 AM, General News


NPPC, NCBA Lead Coalition Warning Congress of Agriculture Inspection Funding Shortfall

A coalition of more than 150 agriculture and trade groups led by the National Pork Producers Council and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association sent a letter to Congress warning of a major funding shortfall that could severely weaken agricultural inspections at U.S. borders. The letter urged lawmakers to protect agriculture by appropriating funding to address what may be a $630 million COVID-19 related shortfall through fiscal year 2021.

In the letter, the coalition highlighted a funding shortfall for Agricultural Quarantine Inspection, which plays a critical role in protecting U.S. agriculture from plant and animal pests and diseases. APHIS collects user fees that pay for U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture inspections. Due to the recent economic downturn and travel restrictions as a result of...

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Jul 1 8:23 AM, Urner Barry


Charoen Pokphand Foods Maintains Strict Preventive Measures Against ASF and COVID-19

Charoen Pokphand Foods PLC (CPF) will keep in place its strict preventive measures against African Swine Flu (ASF) in pigs and novel coronavirus (COVID-19) despite a low level of domestic transmission. Having been organized is employee training on New Normal farming that will concurrently protect both pigs and human and sustainably assure food safety for consumers.

Dr. Damnoen Chaturavittawong (D.V.M), Senior Vice President of Swine Veterinary Service Department at CPF, said that strict animal and human disease control measures have been continually practiced at the Company for both livestock and aquaculture businesses, as required by international standards. In the outbreak of ASF epidemic and COVID-19 pandemic, additional stringent measures and guidelines have been...

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Jul 1 8:23 AM, General News


Redefine Meat Unveils Alt-Steak

Redefine Meat unveils Alt-Steak plant-based products, with market testing at select high-end restaurants to start later this year. Created using Redefine Meat's patent-pending 3D meat printing technology, the company's Alt-Steak products have the texture, flavor and appearance of beef steak and can be produced in the volume and cost to enable large-scale market launch.

Working with leading butchers, chefs, food technologists and the close collaboration of taste expert, Givaudan, Redefine Meat has digitally mapped more than 70 sensorial parameters into its Alt-Steak products, including premium beef cuts' texture, juiciness, fat distribution and mouthfeel. Layer by layer, the company's proprietary industrial-scale 3D food printers create...

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Jul 1 8:23 AM, General News


PODCAST: A Triumphant Return - UB Consulting with Angel Rubio

Former Market Reporter Angel Rubio returns to Urner Barry to start our new venture, Urner Barry Consulting. Providing custom white papers, presentations, targeted research reports, and much more, Urner Barry Consulting is here to provide unique solutions for your business...

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Jun 30 10:53 AM, Urner Barry


Restaurant Brands International Provides Business Update 

The following letter was provided by Jose Cil, Chief Executive Officer of Restaurant Brands International:

"This week marked 100 days since COVID-19 turned business in our home markets upside down.

In March, April and May, we shared an update on how we've been managing the crisis and driving substantial change at Restaurant Brands International . As we finish the last week of our second quarter, I wanted to share one more update on the recovery of our business, a return to growth in certain parts of our business and some reflection on long-term priorities; including...

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Jun 30 8:09 AM, General News


Papa John’s and Shaquille O’Neal Launch New Shaq-a-Roni Pizza

Papa John’s announced today the launch of the new Shaq-a-Roni pizza in collaboration with board member and restaurant owner Shaquille O’Neal. Designed to deliver a bigger pizza experience, Papa John’s will donate one dollar from every Shaq-a-Roni sold through August 23, 2020 to The Papa John’s Foundation for Building Community, which supports communities as they work together for equality, fairness, respect and opportunity for all.

“It was important to me for the Shaq-a-Roni to be bigger than just pizza. By giving my new pie a try, one dollar will be donated to The Papa John’s Foundation for Building Community to support COVID-19 relief...

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Jun 30 8:08 AM, General News


Domino's Introduces Carside Delivery 

Domino's Pizza is offering customers of the brand yet another way to carry out their favorite pizza: via Domino's Carside Delivery. Domino's Carside Delivery is a new contactless carryout option that customers can choose when placing a prepaid online order, and it is now available in stores across the U.S.

"Domino's is all about providing a delicious, hot meal, the way customers want it – whether via carryout or delivery," said Dennis Maloney, Domino's senior vice president-chief innovation officer. "Domino's Carside Delivery gives customers the option to stay in their vehicle while...

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Jun 30 8:08 AM, General News


Lloyd's Barbeque Introduces Pulled Pork and Chicken Products 

The makers of Lloyd’s barbeque products announced its pecanwood smoked pulled pork and hardwood smoked chicken made with 2-time world barbeque sauce champion Pig Beach Mustard BBQ Sauce.

Winner of the 2014 and 2016 Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, Pig Beach Mustard BBQ Sauce is a perfect match for Lloyd’s lightly seasoned hardwood smoked pulled meats. Recognized by USA Today as the “Most Prestigious Barbecue Contest,” the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest is a four-day competition held in Memphis, Tenn., that draws nearly 250 teams competing from around the world.

“Barbeque is all about bringing families and friends together,” said Eric Jacobson, Lloyd’s barbeque brand manager. “Our new hardwood smoked pulled meats made with...

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Jun 30 8:07 AM, General News


Chipotle Announces Partnership with Grubhub to Expand Delivery Footprint

Chipotle Mexican Grill announced that it is partnering with Grubhub, the nation's leading pickup and delivery marketplace with the largest network of restaurant partners, to expand its delivery footprint in the U.S. Chipotle and Grubhub have established a fully-integrated partnership to provide efficient operations and a seamless diner experience, ensuring food arrives as fresh and fast as possible. Available now, customers can order from Chipotle locations through the Grubhub app or Grubhub.com.

Digital orders from Chipotle are customized via the brand's Digital Kitchens, which are comprised of a dedicated ingredient station and operated by a special team in nearly all Chipotle locations. Chipotle deliveries also feature a tamper evident packaging seal to help ensure food is untouched during delivery. Grubhub users will also...

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Jun 30 8:07 AM, General News


New Jersey Postpones Indoor Dining Indefinitely as Other States Pause Reopening

Just days before New Jersey restaurants were set to reopen indoor dining at 25% capacity, Governor Phil Murphy announced that the state would be postponing indoor dining indefinitely. 

“UPDATE: INDOOR DINING WILL NO LONGER RESUME ON THURSDAY,” Murphy posted in a series of messages on social media Monday afternoon. “We had planned to loosen restrictions this week. However, after COVID19 spikes in other states driven by, in part, the return of indoor dining, we have decided to postpone indoor dining indefinitely...

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Jun 30 8:06 AM, SeafoodNews


Urner Barry's Coronavirus Special Report - Volume III

The global COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted consumer behavior, distribution, production, and market prices in a way we have never seen before. From stay-at-home directives that spurred a run on retail while foodservice operations were limited or halted all-together, to production cutbacks caused by labor shortages at the plant level, the industry has had much to contend with over the past several months.

Now, as many states have begun reopening phases, the industry is making strides in returning to a more “normal” business environment—however the face of this new normal will likely look a bit different...

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Jun 30 8:06 AM, Urner Barry


CHART:Industry Expectations for Weekly Cattle Slaughter

 

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Jun 29 3:18 PM, Urner Barry


Plant-Based Seafood Company Ocean Hugger Foods Falls Victim to Pandemic

Ocean Hugger Foods, the company behind the first plant-based alternative to raw tuna and freshwater eel, announced last week that they are shuttering their operations.

“Due to the COVID-19 health crisis our world is facing, and the fact that our company sells exclusively to foodservice customers (such as university and corporate cafeterias, and restaurants) who are suffering greatly during time time, it is with tremendous sadness that we must report that Ocean Hugger Foods must cease operations,” a note from co-founder and CEO David Benzaquen and...

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Jun 29 12:10 PM, SeafoodNews


Pilgrim's Pride Corporation Recalls Chicken Breast Nugget Products

Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation, a Waco, Texas establishment, is recalling approximately 59,800 pounds of fully cooked chicken breast nugget products that may be contaminated with extraneous materials, specifically flexible rubber material, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

The frozen ready-to-eat (RTE) chicken breast nugget items were produced on May 6, 2020. The following products are subject to recall...

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Jun 29 9:00 AM, General News


Church's Chicken Rallies in Q2, Sets Sights on Continued Growth and Positive Momentum

Just six months ago, Church's Chicken turned in its best performance in ten years for comparable same-store sales, and made 2020 the launch date for the brand's five-year strategic plan. Then, like all restaurants and businesses, plans were set back due to COVID-19 and the brand enacted a refocused action plan in response. Overall, the COVID-19 sales challenges were only temporary for Church's, as it reports that domestic sales have returned to pre-pandemic positive trends the past two months.

"Without question, our ability to weather this crisis is due to our entire franchise community, corporate and restaurant team members coming together to quickly and effectively adapt to a changing market and continue to...

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Jun 29 8:15 AM, General News




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