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100,000 Restaurants Closed Six Months into Pandemic

Six months following the first shutdown of restaurants for the coronavirus pandemic, the restaurant industry is in limbo. According to a new survey released by the National Restaurant Association, nearly 1 in 6 restaurants (representing nearly 100,000 restaurants) is closed either permanently or long-term; nearly 3 million employees are still out of work; and the industry is on track to lose $240 billion in sales by the end of the year.

The survey, which asked restaurant operators about the six-month impact of the pandemic on their businesses, found that overwhelmingly, most restaurants are still struggling to survive and don't expect their position to improve over the next six months. The findings include...

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Sep 15 8:22 AM, General News



The Hartman Group's Shelley Balanko on Consumer Buying Trends in a Pandemic

During extraordinary times, insights into consumer behaviors become more vital than ever to businesses. The Hartman Group, a food culture consultancy, provides such trends, insights, and strategic counsels to professionals in the food and beverage industry. The company conducts its own primary research with expertise in areas including sustainability and the health and wellness consumer.

In 2012, the Hartman Group developed the Eating Occasions Compass, a database that documents the who, what, when, where, and why of eating occasions in the United States...

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Sep 10 9:06 AM, Urner Barry


The Consumer Confidence Index Decreased in August 

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index decreased in August, after declining in July. The Index now stands at 84.8 (1985=100), down from 91.7 in July.

The Present Situation Index – based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions – decreased sharply from 95.9 to 84.2.

The Expectations Index – based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions – declined from 88.9 in July to 85.2 this month...

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Aug 26 8:26 AM, General News


Consumer Confidence Index Decreased in July

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index decreased in July, after increasing in June. The Index now stands at 92.6 (1985=100), down from 98.3 in June. The Present Situation Index – based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions – improved from 86.7 to 94.2. However, the Expectations Index – based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions – decreased from 106.1 in June to 91.5 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...

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Jul 29 8:22 AM, General News


Foodservice Recovery to Continue Amid Rising COVID-19 Cases

The recent surge in Covid-19 cases in the US and the subsequent expansion of dine-in restrictions in many states and cities appear troubling. While they may weigh on consumer behavior for a short period, Rabobank expects US foodservice recovery to continue as initial hotspots (e.g. New York) show no resurgence, and more importantly, the consumer spending trajectory is largely unchanged in new hotspots (e.g. Florida, Texas, California), likely signaling that the delayed onset in these areas has enabled both businesses and consumers to prepare for the ‘new’ normal.

Another Widespread Shutdown Is Unlikely

Though local and state governments have begun to reimpose restrictions in some hard hit areas, there is little appetite among governments, businesses, or consumers for another...

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Jul 21 8:27 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


May Retail Sales Improve Dramatically Over April but Still Below Last Year

Retail sales rose dramatically in May as retailers and other businesses closed by the coronavirus pandemic began to reopen, but remained well below spending levels seen during the same period a year ago, the National Retail Federation said.

“This sales report is very encouraging news at a time when we need to focus on what will happen as retail doors open once again,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said during a live interview on CNBC’s Squawk Box program. “For a sick economy, there is no better medicine than retailers responding to consumers who are ready to safely return to stores. These sales numbers do not reflect the same strength we had going into the pandemic, but they certainly reflect the trajectory we need coming out of it. The most important thing now is...

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Jun 18 8:18 AM, General News


Technomic: Recent Protests Resulted in Restaurant Foot Traffic Declines 

Major cities where protests were held, including Minneapolis, experienced declines in QSR and overall restaurant foot traffic that overindex national levels.

There is significant concern that the virus will reappear

Driven by the New England region (88%) and consumers ages 55-64 (85%), the vast majority (77%) express concern that the virus will be back before the end of year. On the flip side, 32% of West North Central and 31% of consumers ages 18-24 report that they are not concerned or very concerned.

Employees’ safety and health are top of mind for operators

Healthcare operators are more likely to be concerned with...

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Jun 11 8:23 AM, General News


Consumer Confidence Index Stabilizes in May

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index held steady in May, following a sharp decline in April. The Index now stands at 86.6 (1985=100), up from 85.7 in April. The Present Situation Index – based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions – declined from 73.0 to 71.1. However, the Expectations Index – based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business and labor market conditions – improved from 94.3 in April to 96.9 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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May 27 8:15 AM, General News


Technomic: Consumer Perspective on Social Distancing Measures within Restaurants

Following CDC guidelines for safe social distancing, half of consumers would be comfortable dining in at restaurants with a 6-foot distance between tables. However, more than a quarter would be more comfortable with 9-15 feet.

More consumers willing to social distance than wear protective gear

More than half of consumers would follow social distancing measures, but less than half would be willing to wear a mask or gloves when in a restaurant. Consumers ages 35-44 are more likely to...

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May 21 8:18 AM, General News


U.S. Foodservice Revenues to Decline 25% from 2019, But are Expected to Rebound by 2024

Although full-service restaurants have slowly been losing share of restaurant spending to less expensive and more convenient fast food and fast casual restaurants, they still made up the largest share of revenues from eating and drinking places in 2019, according to Food Carryout & Delivery, a recently published report market research firm Packaged Facts.

As the coronavirus pandemic sweeps the nation in 2020, foodservice revenues are forecast to decline more than 25% from 2019 as dine-in service shuts down amid decreased consumer spending on restaurants as people stay at home and cook more even as some states slowly begin reopening. Revenues will...

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May 15 8:16 AM, General News


Mintel: The Current Economic Environment Compared to The Great Recession 

Mintel has released new research analyzing the current economic environment compared to that of the Great Recession, including insight on the economic indicators that will play a role in predicting consumer spending in the months and years ahead.

While the economy is in decline today, the factors leading to the last recession, its duration, and lasting impact on consumers are (and will be) very different this time around.

Why this time it’s different

The Great Recession was largely impacted by failures in the housing and banking industries. Today, the crisis is out of human control, and one we can’t yet solve. What’s more, the financial system today is...

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May 13 8:14 AM, General News


Imports to See Double-Digit Annual Declines Even as Stores Begin to Reopen

Imports at major U.S. retail container ports are expected to see double-digit year-over-year declines this spring and summer as the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic continue, according to the Global Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

“Factories in China are largely back online and stores that closed here in the U.S.. are starting to reopen, but volume is far lower than what we would see in a ‘normal’ year,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “Shoppers will come back and there is still a need for essential items, but the economic recovery will be...

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May 12 8:16 AM, General News


Technomic: Foodservice Spending Continues a Slow Rebound 

Consumer spending estimates bottomed out at a decrease of 35% of expected sales the week of April 12 and has grown to a level that may be pulling us off the bottom of the market. The cumulative loss in spending has declined for the first week since the start of the pandemic. However, it is important to note that previous weeks showed fluctuations that could foretell more up and down movement in the trends in coming weeks.

Off-premise ordering at FSRs sees high growth this week

Ordering by nondelivery, off-premise methods has increased across all segments this week. For fast-food restaurants, this was driven by drive-thru orders (59%). Growth at FSRs was driven by a mix of drive-thru and takeout orders. Overall, casual-dining and fine-dining restaurants saw the largest jump...

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May 7 8:14 AM, General News


Consumer Confidence Index Weakened Significantly in April

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index deteriorated further in April, following a sharp decline in March. The Index now stands at 86.9 (1985=100), down from 118.8 in March. The Present Situation Index – based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions – also declined considerably, from 166.7 to 76.4. However, the Expectations Index – based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business and labor market conditions – improved from 86.8 in March to 93.8 this month.

“Consumer confidence weakened significantly in April, driven by a severe deterioration in current conditions,” said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “The 90-point drop in the Present Situation Index, the largest on record, reflects the sharp contraction in...

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Apr 29 8:19 AM, General News


Technomic: Decrease in Consumer Spending Levels Off Slightly

Within the past week, it became clear that the timing and scope of the pandemic will be highly localized because of fragmented government actions and variable social distancing practices by location. This will likely lead to a geography-dependent economic recovery timeline, with early adopter states experiencing a potentially quicker return to normal compared to later adopters. This COVID-19 update from Technomic’s Foodservice Impact Monitor explores the continued effect on the industry, including consumer spending leveling off and some innovative initiatives from operators.

Industry Impact

Unemployment claims have grown from 3 million the previous week to over 6 million in the last report. It remains to be seen if the government stimulus will be enough to counteract that...

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Apr 13 8:11 AM, 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 3 8:22 AM, 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


Consumer Confidence Index Increased Slightly in February

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index improved slightly in February, following an increase in January. The Index now stands at 130.7 (1985=100), up from 130.4 in January. The Present Situation Index – based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions – decreased from 173.9 to 165.1. However, the Expectations Index – based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business and labor market conditions – increased from 101.4 last month to 107.8 this month.

“Consumer confidence improved slightly in February, following an increase in January,” said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators. “Despite the decline in the Present Situation Index, consumers continue to view current conditions quite favorably. Consumers’ short-term expectations improved, and when coupled with solid employment growth, should be...

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Feb 26 8:23 AM, General News


January Retail Sales Grew 2.7 Percent Over Last Year

Retail sales in January increased 0.2 percent seasonally adjusted over December and were up 2.7 percent unadjusted year-over-year, the National Retail Federation said.

“The strength of consumer spending continues to be the anchor of the current economic expansion,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “January’s retail sales results reflect a confident consumer supported by solid wage growth and job gains. While the business sector continues to weigh significant uncertainties, consumers are providing staying power for...

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Feb 14 11:57 AM, General News


2020 Super Bowl: Consumers to Spend $17.2 Billion

The latest consumer spending data from the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics’ 2020 Super Bowl survey suggests this may be one of the strongest Super Bowls yet, with millions of adults saying they have plans for the big game. Those watching the event expect to spend an average $88.65 on food and beverages, merchandise and party supplies, for a total $17.2 billion nationwide.

A total of 193.8 million adults plan to watch the Super Bowl this Sunday, with those watching expected to spend an average of $7.35 more than last year. Food and beverages are the most popular purchases at...

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Jan 31 8:57 AM, General News


Consumer Confidence Index Increased in January

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index increased in January, following a moderate increase in December. The Index now stands at 131.6 (1985=100), up from 128.2 (an upward revision) in December. The Present Situation Index – based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions – increased from 170.5 to 175.3. The Expectations Index – based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business and labor market conditions – increased from 100.0 last month to 102.5 this month.

“Consumer confidence increased in January, following a moderate advance in December, driven primarily by a more positive assessment of the current job market and...

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Jan 29 8:23 AM, General News


Consumer Confidence Index Dipped in December

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index decreased marginally in December, following a slight increase in November. The Index now stands at 126.5 (1985=100), down from 126.8 (an upward revision) in November. The Present Situation Index – based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions – increased from 166.6 to 170.0. The Expectations Index – based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business and labor market conditions – decreased from 100.3 last month to 97.4 this month.

“Consumer confidence declined marginally in December, following a slight improvement in November,” said Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “While consumers’ assessment of current conditions improved, their expectations declined, driven primarily by...

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Jan 2 8:24 AM, General News


Thanksgiving Weekend Draws Nearly 190 Million Shoppers, Spending Up 16 Percent

A record 189.6 million U.S. consumers shopped from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday this year, an increase of 14 percent over last year’s 165.8 million, the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics said today.

“Americans continue to start their holiday shopping earlier in the year, and Thanksgiving is still a critical weekend for millions,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Whether they’re looking for something unique on Main Street, making a trip to the store or searching for the best deals from their mobile device, this is when shoppers shift into high gear. With the condensed holiday season, consumers are feeling the pressure to get their shopping done in time. Even those who typically wait until...

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Dec 4 8:19 AM, General News


Consumer Confidence Index Declined Slightly in November

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index decreased in November, following a slight decline in October. The Index now stands at 125.5 (1985=100), down from 126.1 in October. The Present Situation Index – based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions – decreased from 173.5 to 166.9. The Expectations Index – based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business and labor market conditions – increased from 94.5 last month to 97.9 this month.

“Consumer confidence declined for a fourth consecutive month, driven by a softening in consumers’ assessment of current business and employment conditions,” said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “The decline in the Present Situation Index suggests that economic growth in the final quarter of 2019 will remain weak. However...

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Nov 27 8:21 AM, General News


October Retail Sales Grew 4.2 Percent Over Last Year

Retail sales in October increased 0.2 percent seasonally adjusted over September and were up 4.2 percent unadjusted year-over-year, the National Retail Federation said.

“Despite the gradual slowdown in the U.S. economy, consumers are in a good place and October’s retail sales are a step forward into the all-important holiday season,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “Uncertainty around trade policy has impacted consumer sentiment recently but ongoing job growth, low interest rates, low inflation and the stock market hitting record highs provide support for consumer spending.”

October’s results make up for most of the 0.3 percent month-over-month decline seen in September and build on September’s year-over-year increase of...

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Nov 19 9:51 AM, General News


Social Media Driving Impressive Halloween Spending

U.S. consumers are using social media to find Halloween inspiration and it is driving near-record spending for the holiday in 2019.

According to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey, shoppers will spend an average of $86.27 on Halloween, just slightly below last year’s record of $86.79. In total that works out to $8.8 billion. That total marks the third-highest mark in the survey’s 15-year industry.

“Spending hasn’t changed much over the past few years, but we are seeing a noticeable increase in...

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Oct 31 8:16 AM, Urner Barry


The Consumer Confidence Index Edged Down in October

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index decreased marginally in October, following a decline in September. The Index now stands at 125.9 (1985=100), down from 126.3 in September. The Present Situation Index – based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions – increased from 170.6 to 172.3. The Expectations Index – based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business and labor market conditions – declined from 96.8 last month to 94.9 this month.

“Consumer confidence was relatively flat in October, following a decrease in September,” said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “The Present Situation Index improved, but Expectations weakened slightly as consumers expressed some concerns about business conditions and...

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Oct 30 8:21 AM, General News


Holiday Shoppers Plan to Spend 4 Percent More this Year

Consumers say they will spend an average of $1,047.83 this holiday season, up 4 percent from the $1,007.24 they said they would spend last year, according to the annual survey released today by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics. Shoppers between the ages of 35 and 44 plan to spend the most at $1,158.63.

“Consumers are in good financial shape and willing to spend a little more on gifts for the special people in their lives this holiday season,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Retailers are fully prepared to meet the needs of holiday shoppers looking for that perfect mix of sales, quality and selection.”

Shay noted that retailers are expected to import near-record volumes of merchandise ahead of the tariffs that are scheduled to take effect on...

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Oct 28 8:27 AM, General News


September Sales Grew 4.5 Percent Over Last Year 

According to the National Retail Federation, retail sales in September were down 0.1 percent seasonally adjusted from August, but up 4.5 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

“The pullback in September compared with August is possibly a reaction to increased fears over U.S.-China tensions,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “While uncertainty around trade policy and other issues has dampened consumer sentiment recently, consumers still have a lot going for them as evidenced by longer-term trends and factors like the tight labor market. September is a tricky month to measure because of seasonal factors like the end of summer and back-to-school spending, and this year’s...

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Oct 17 8:21 AM, Urner Barry




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