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March Retail Sales See Strong Rebound Amid Increased Vaccination and Government Stimulus

Retail sales rebounded with huge gains in March as government checks fattened consumers’ bank accounts and more vaccination against COVID-19 made it easier for shoppers to get out of the house and lead the acceleration of the U.S. economy, the National Retail Federation said.

“The dramatic increase of nearly 18 percent in March retail sales over the same period last year confirms that a confident consumer is driving the economic rebound, and that should continue through the remainder of 2021,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “American households are clearly feeling the full effect of additional fiscal stimulus, gains in the job market and the reopening of the economy. Although there have been some recent issues related to vaccines, consumer confidence remains...

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Apr 16 2:23 PM, General News



U.S. Restaurant Chain Customer Transactions Begin to Recover

In mid-March 2020, U.S. governing authorities, to get the COVID-19 global pandemic under control, restricted on-premises dining at roughly 70% of all U.S. restaurants, a historical defining moment for the industry. By the last week of March 2020, customer transactions at major restaurant chains had fallen by -43% compared to year ago and by -77% at full service chains, which were most impacted by the dine-in restrictions.

In March 2021, with the lifting of restrictions and more consumers vaccinated, customer transactions at major restaurant chains were up +32% compared to the steep declines year ago, although still down -6% compared to two years ago, March 2019. Major chain transactions at full service restaurants were up...

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Apr 16 2:05 PM, General News


PODAST: All Good On the Western Front: Alaska Sausage and Seafood

This week on Market Digest we're joined by Martin Eckmann of The Alaska Sausage and Seafood Company. Martin and Laura discuss running a business in Alaska during the pandemic, how shipping times and logistics have been affected, and reindeer sausages.

Did you know? Urner Barry's Market Digest Podcast is now available on Spotify, iTunes, Apple Podcast, iHeartRadio, and SoundCloud! More ways to listen to top industry news and analysis.

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Apr 15 11:12 AM, Urner Barry


ANALYSIS: Bellies Travel Upward into PEDv Levels

Bellies have done little but march higher since the beginning of 2021. Currently, rekindled interest at foodservice locations as some states relax COVID-19 restrictions, along with...

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Apr 15 8:37 AM, Urner Barry


ANALYSIS: Chicken Index Product of Unprecedented Market Influencers

Over the past year, there have been very few stones left unturned as the industry and observers of it have navigated their way through unprecedented times. Presently, the chicken market is experiencing...

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Apr 15 8:37 AM, Urner Barry


Global Consumer Confidence Hits Record High

Global consumer confidence soared to record heights in the first quarter of 2021, according to The Conference Board® Global Consumer Confidence Survey, as vaccination campaigns broadened, travel restrictions loosened, and governments and central banks continued to provide economic stimulus.

The survey found that overall global consumer confidence shot up from 98 in the fourth quarter of 2020 to 108 in the first quarter of 2021. That figure exceeded the reading of 106 registered in pre-pandemic 2020 Q1 (a figure above 100 is considered positive) and is the highest recorded since...

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Apr 15 8:35 AM, General News


Consumers Take Grilling and Outdoor Cooking to the Next Level

Eager for a change of pace during the pandemic, cooking outside has become a go-to activity for many consumers, and it extends beyond traditional grilling, or even the traditional grilling season. Consumers spent more than $4.9 billion on grills, smokers, camping stoves, accessories, and fuel in 2020, according to new Enhanced Retail Tracking Service information on the home improvement industry from The NPD Group, which blends retailer point-of-sale data with insight from NPD’s receipt-based Checkout information and additional data assets combined with advanced modeling.

“The need to cook more meals at home combined with the desire to experiment with new ways to create those meals helped fuel growth for almost all types of grills,” said Joe Derochowski, home industry advisor at NPD. “Layer on our cravings to be less...

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Apr 15 8:35 AM, General News


ANALYSIS: Turkey Production: Changing With the Times

The turkey industry has become accustomed to not getting too comfortable in their own shoes, at least for very long. Counting on external change to...

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Apr 14 8:24 AM, Urner Barry


Red Gold Adresses Reports of a Ketchup Shortage 

Red Gold, the second largest manufacturer of tomato products in the United States, sets the record straight on reports of a pandemic-related ketchup shortage. Red Gold wants to make it clear; there is no shortage of ketchup.

Over the last ten months, the increased demand for ketchup in single-serve packets used for restaurant take-out and delivery exceeded inventory capacity for some suppliers.

As Red Gold prepared for the surge, the company developed two new pre-portioned ketchup items on other manufacturing lines, while continuing to keep the ketchup packet lines running at...

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Apr 12 9:47 AM, General News


Meijer Reveals Unique Shopping Trends One Year into Pandemic Living

As the one-year mark into pandemic living has officially passed, Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer Meijer reveals some of the most surprising shopping trends from the height of the shutdown to the ongoing changes in home and work lifestyles across the Midwest.

While home delivery and pickup services doubled at Meijer stores over the last 12 months, customers used the retailer's Shop & Scan technology more than 100 million times as they shopped and bagged while practicing social distancing to shorten time spent in the store. Additionally, customers also ate more...

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Apr 12 8:19 AM, General News


February Red Meat Exports Below Last Year, but 2021 Outlook Remains Strong

February exports of U.S. beef and pork remained below the rapid pace established in early 2020, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). However, exports were consistent with USMEF’s February projections and the federation still expects 2021 beef exports to increase substantially year-over-year, while pork exports are projected to narrowly surpass the 2020 record. ​

Beef exports totaled 103,493 metric tons (mt) in February, down 8% from a year ago, valued at $669.5 million (down 2%). This was due mainly to a decline in variety meat exports, as beef muscle cuts were steady with last year in value at $597.9 million on a volume of 82,530 mt (down 3%). Through February, beef exports were...

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Apr 12 8:18 AM, General News


ANALYSIS: Boxed Beef Cutout Surges at Record Pace to Start Year

Boxed beef prices have remained elevated to the start the year. In fact, demand has been...

 

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Apr 9 8:33 AM, Urner Barry


Retail Import Surge Expected Through Summer

The unprecedented surge of imports at retail container ports that began last summer is expected to continue at least through the end of this summer as retailers work to meet increased consumer demand, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

“We’ve never seen imports at this high a level for such an extended period of time,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “Records have been broken multiple times and near-record numbers are happening almost every month. Between federal stimulus checks and money saved by staying home for the better part of a year, consumers have money in their pockets and...

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Apr 9 8:27 AM, General News


Canada: Dine-In Restaurant Visit Declines Soften in February when Restrictions were Eased
The pent-up demand for indoor dining was evident in February after dine-in restrictions were eased in Canada’s largest provinces. Dine-in restaurant visits increased by 4 percentage points in February compared to January, an increase of 10.5 million visits versus prior month. The downside of this news is the still deep traffic declines in on-premises dining. Dine-in visits declined by -79% in February compared to same month last year and were down -85% in January compared to last year, according to NPD, which continually tracks consumers’ use of Canadian restaurants and other foodservice outlets.

Off-premises dining, like carry-out, delivery, and drive-thru, has been the beneficiary of the indoor dining restrictions. In January off-premises visits, digital or physical, were up...

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Apr 8 10:25 AM, General News


ANALYSIS: Turkey Thigh Meats Get a Leg Up

With springtime now in full swing, seasonal outreach is beginning to develop...

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Apr 8 8:29 AM, Urner Barry


Taco Bell Plans for Major Hiring Push in April

Taco Bell is preparing for continued restaurant growth and reopenings by launching its fourth annual Hiring Parties event on Wednesday, April 21. Converting parking lots into job fairs, these one-day events with on-the-spot interview opportunities will take place at almost 2,000 participating company and franchise-owned locations across the U.S. The goal is to hire at least 5,000 new team members from this year’s Hiring Parties.

Adhering to COVID-19 safety precautions, this year’s Hiring Parties will be held outside, in creative locations like patio areas—some candidates may even be able to participate in...

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Apr 7 8:24 AM, General News


Instacart Reveals How the Pandemic has Transformed Consumer Grocery Habits

Instacart released "Beyond the Cart: A Year of Essential Insights," a new report highlighting how the pandemic has transformed 100 years of grocery habits through the lens of trends from the past year that are shaping the future of online grocery shopping. The report combines an in-depth look at data from Instacart along with insights from a new Instacart survey of 2,038 U.S. adults conducted recently online by The Harris Poll.

"More than a year of pandemic living has dramatically reshaped how American households shop for groceries and other household essentials," said Laurentia Romaniuk, Instacart's Trends Expert and Senior Product Manager. "As we analyzed twelve months of data from Instacart, we discovered that...

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Apr 7 8:23 AM, General News


Plant-Based Food Sales Surpass $7 Billion, Sales Up 27% in 2020

According to the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA), U.S. retail sales of plant-based foods continued to increase by double digits in 2020, growing 27% and bringing the total market value to $7 billion. This sales growth was consistent across the country, with more than 25% growth in every U.S. census region.

In the past two years, plant-based food sales have grown 43%, which is nine times faster than total food sales. In 2020, about 57% of all U.S. households purchased plant-based foods, up from 53% in 2019 totaling 71 million households.

PBFA also found that the value of plant-based meat, while the second-largest plant-based category, hit $1.4 billion in 2020. That represents sales growth of 45% from 2019. The plant-based meat category grew twice as fast as...

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Apr 7 8:22 AM, Urner Barry


NRF: One Year Later, Economy 'Has Come a Long Way'

With more vaccines in arms, federal stimulus putting money into pockets and consumers shopping again, the U.S. economy has made dramatic progress since the coronavirus pandemic brought activity to a near-standstill this time last year, National Retail Federation Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said.

“The economy has come a long way compared with a year ago,” Kleinhenz said. “Both monetary policy set by the Federal Reserve and fiscal policy set by Congress and the White House have responded with swift and overwhelming force to support the economy. NRF is optimistic that the recovery is...

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Apr 6 8:27 AM, General News


Technomic Reports Top 500 Chain Restaurant Sales Fell by More than 8% in 2020
Technomic just released one of the most highly anticipated reports, the 2021 Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report, which includes expert findings and insights into the sales performance of U.S. chain restaurants from 2020. The report is built using decades of historical data with detailed analysis into the foodservice industry and overarching trends, including the impact of COVID-19 and performance rankings, as well as annual sales and unit counts by chain and segment.

“Disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Top 500 chain restaurants saw sales fall by $27 billion in 2020, decreasing by more than 8% compared to 2019,” explains Kevin Schimpf, senior research manager at Technomic. “As many small chains and independent restaurants struggled to...

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Apr 6 8:26 AM, General News


Walmart is Now Offering COVID-19 Vaccines in 48 States, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C.

As the COVID-19 vaccine rollout ramps up and vaccine eligibility widens, Walmart is administering vaccines in more than 3,800 stores and clubs across 48 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. Walmart has worked to administer COVID-19 vaccines into the arms of residents in rural and vulnerable areas across the country. More than 80% of shots administered through our pharmacies and 60+ dedicated community events were in what HRSA designates as the most medically underserved areas of the country. For example, in Jackson, Mississippi, we partnered with the Jackson Housing Authority to set up in a community center for a low-income senior housing unit where we administered nearly 2,000 vaccinations to vulnerable seniors.

We remain focused on reaching communities with access issues and vaccine hesitancy, especially those located in medically underserved areas where Walmart has a presence. That continued focus will...

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Apr 5 9:54 AM, General News


ANALYSIS: Easter Demand for Shell Eggs Not All It Was Cracked Up to Be

Since the start of last week, shell-egg prices have plunged 19% thanks to lackluster Easter demand and, in turn, mounting inventories...

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Apr 5 8:28 AM, Urner Barry


US Foodservice: Expect an Even Bigger Lift From the Third Stimulus

Checks under the USD 1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, the third and largest stimulus package since the pandemic outbreak, began rolling out mid-March. The US government expects nearly 85% of all US residents – adults, children, seniors – to receive direct payments of up to USD 1,400 based on household income. The ongoing stimulus is substantially higher than the last two in April and December 2020, which included direct payments of USD 1,200 (plus USD 500 per child) and USD 600 (plus USD 600 per child), respectively.

Recipients Spent 10% to 15% More in Restaurants Following the Last Two Rounds of Stimulus

Credit/debit card transaction data from Earnest Research, a data analytics firm that tracks the US consumer economy through foot traffic, credit/debit card spend, retail pricing, and healthcare data, shows...

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Apr 5 8:26 AM, General News


The Consumer Confidence Index Surged in March

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index surged in March to its highest reading in a year, after a modest increase in February. The Index now stands at 109.7 (1985=100), up from 90.4 in February. The Present Situation Index—based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions—climbed from 89.6 to 110.0. The Expectations Index—based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions—also improved, from 90.9 last month to 109.6 in March.

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 March 19.

“Consumer Confidence increased to its highest level since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020,” said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “Consumers’ assessment of current conditions and their short-term outlook...

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Apr 5 8:26 AM, General News


Giant Food Announces all 152 Pharmacy Locations Now Offering COVID-19 Vaccine

Giant Food today announces that all 152 of its in-store pharmacies throughout Washington, D.C.MarylandVirginia, and Delaware are offering the COVID-19 vaccine to eligible residents. Since late 2020 Giant has been administering vaccinations and is continuing to work closely with local and federal authorities to receive additional doses on an ongoing basis. Giant's pharmacies are currently utilizing the Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, dependent on specific location.

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Apr 1 8:30 AM, General News


NPD Group: Flexible Routines Help to Boost Visits to Restaurants During Late Afternoon

Although total U.S. restaurant traffic has been down across dayparts for most of last year and through February 2021, late afternoon and after dinner snack visits — what the restaurant industry calls the p.m. snack daypart — have increased, reports The NPD Group. Consumer visits to restaurants during the p.m. snack period, which ranges from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., increased by +1% compared to year ago in February, which was a rough month for the industry with the continuing pandemic...

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Mar 31 8:49 AM, General News


10% of All U.S. Restaurants have Closed Permanently Since the Pandemic Began

Datassential revealed that 10.2 percent of U.S. food establishments have closed permanently since the pandemic began, citing new data from the company's proprietary Firefly database released.

Of the 778,807 food establishments in operation since the onset of COVID-19, 79,438 have closed for good as of Monday, according to the report from Datassential. The figure does include restaurants that have opened during the pandemic.

That includes restaurants at all levels of service: QSR (fast-food), fast-casual, midscale, casual and fine dining as well as food trucks. Food trucks have been affected the most of any segment, with...

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Mar 30 8:23 AM, General News


NRF Says Extension of Paycheck Protection Program Vital to Small Businesses

The National Retail Federation issued the following statement from President and CEO Matthew Shay following the Senate’s approval to extend the Paycheck Protection Program.

“Throughout the past year, countless small businesses have been devastated by the pandemic. The Paycheck Protection Program has served as a lifeline for many retailers and other businesses across the country, ensuring they can continue to pay their employees and keep their doors open. As our economy begins to recover, extending the Paycheck Protection Program will give additional small businesses access to...

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Mar 29 8:19 AM, General News


ANALYSIS: Chicken Rearing to Go

For the second month this year, broiler type pullet placements have advanced considerably above 2020 levels...

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Mar 26 8:37 AM, Urner Barry


What’s Next in Labor and Employment Law for the Meat and Retail Industries

Labor and employment issues including healthcare and immigration have immediate effects on the meat and retail industries. In a virtual panel titled ‘What’s Next in Labor and Employment Law’ during the final day of the American Meat Conference, two speakers shared their expertise in labor law and policy.

Panelists John Linker, Partner, Labor and Employment, Akerman LLP; and Frederick Miner, Shareholder, Littler, explored the goals of the Biden Administration and the potential impacts on business. 

Miner began the panel by talking about the current labor landscape. We are entering a significant period of change in the world of labor employment, in which President Biden has promised to be the strongest labor President in our nation’s history. Under the new Administration, the current National Labor Relations Board consists of...

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Mar 26 8:36 AM, UB Newswires


Aramark Welcomes Fans Back to Sporting Events

As pro sports teams begin to welcome fans back, having fans in the stands for this season’s MLB Opening Day will take on added meaning for America’s Pastime. Whether it’s a ballpark, stadium or arena, Aramark, the leading food and beverage partner of major league sports teams, is meeting and exceeding the safety and hygiene standards required in today’s environment, while also improving the overall gameday dining experience, with new and proven solutions.

Innovative Solutions for Frictionless & Contactless Service

To create a safe, efficient and frictionless service experience for fans, Aramark’s continuous pipeline of testing and development of fan-friendly technology and innovative self-service concepts is proving to be a benefit for operating in today’s world and has paved the way for...

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Mar 26 8:36 AM, General News


Average Easter Spending Expected to be Highest on Record

Consumers plan to spend an average of $179.70 this Easter, the highest figure on record, according to results of the annual survey released by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics. A total of 79 percent of Americans will celebrate the holiday and spend a collective $21.6 billion, down slightly from last year's pre-pandemic forecast of $21.7 billion.

“With new stimulus funds from the President’s American Rescue Plan, positive trends in vaccinations and growing consumer confidence, there is a lot of momentum heading into the Spring and holiday events like Easter,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “Many have figured out how to...

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Mar 26 8:32 AM, General News


Key Takeaways From COVID-19 and the Supply Chain

The pandemic has far-reaching effects throughout the entire supply chain. From processing plant disruptions to shifts in consumer behavior, industry participants are learning how to improve efficiency and reconfigure the workplace.   

During a virtual panel sponsored by Kayem Foods, Inc titled ‘COVID and the Supply Chain: Farm to Distribution’, a group of experts including producer and packer representatives discussed their key learnings for both live animal production and meat processing. 

Panelists included Brad Freking, New Fashion Pork; Colin Woodall, CEO, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association; and KatieRose McCullough, Director, Regulatory and Scientific Affairs, North American Meat Institute. 

McCullough began the panel by reviewing the drastic effects that COVID-19 had on the nation's meat and poultry processing plants. In March 2020, COVID-19 was declared a national emergency. The ability to process cattle and hogs in...

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Mar 25 8:39 AM, UB Newswires


Meat Purchases and Confidence at Record Highs

Americans are buying more beef, pork, poultry, and lamb than ever as increased time at home during the pandemic sent meat grocery sales soaring by 20% (IRI) from 2019 to 2020.

The national analysis released shows that three out of every four Americans agree meat belongs in healthy, balanced diets (up by nearly 20% since 2020), and 94% say they buy meat because it provides high-quality protein.

Meat Institute President and CEO Julie Anna Potts commented...

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Mar 25 8:37 AM, General News


Tyson Foods to Hold Employee Vaccination Event at Dakota City Beef Plant

Tyson Foods, Inc. is expanding its free, onsite COVID-19 vaccinations to team members working at its Dakota City, Nebraska, beef plant, the largest of its six U.S. beef operations. March 26, the company will hold a vaccination event to ensure the company’s more than 4,000 Dakota City employees have convenient access to the vaccine.

The vaccines are being provided in conjunction with the local health department. Food manufacturing workers are among the priority groups now eligible for vaccination in Nebraska.

“We’re pleased to offer our team members convenient access to the vaccine and are committed to a long-term strategy that ensures any team member...

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Mar 25 8:36 AM, General News


ANALYSIS: February Pork Cold Storage – Highlights and Concerns

Pork in cold storage has been in the spotlight since last Spring when COVID-19 outbreaks resulted in a swath of pork plant closures, and the lack of...

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Mar 24 8:28 AM, Urner Barry


Regulatory and Policy Update: What the Change in Administration Could Mean for the Meat Industry

With the change in administration, participants in the meat industry are closely eyeing what new leadership at USDA and other regulatory bodies could mean for areas including food safety, worker safety, and animal welfare. 

In the virtual 2021 Annual Meat Conference, a panel of leading experts in regulatory and policy issues discussed updates on these factors and what industry participants at all levels might need to be prepared for in 2021. 

Panelists included Casey Gallimore, Director and Scientific Affairs, North American Meat Institue; and Andrew Harig, Vice President, Tax, Trade, Sustainability & Policy Development, FMI.  

Harig kicked off the panel by noting how Washington in March 2021 is drastically different from Washington in March 2020...

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Mar 24 8:27 AM, UB Newswires


Taco Bell is Redefining the Restaurant of The Future with Ambitious Growth Pipeline

Taco Bell® is looking long-term as it reinvents what it means to be a restaurant of the future. On track to have 10,000 restaurants open globally this decade, the brand is leveraging a multitude of design formats to enhance and redefine both the customer and team member QSR experience in a constantly shifting world.

In collaboration with its franchisees, Taco Bell has continued to evolve its restaurants on an ongoing basis. Back in 2015, the brand saw that customers were eager for urban locations without drive-thrus; so, they developed Cantinas. In navigating COVID-19, Taco Bell again adapted with improvements to digital and...

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Mar 24 8:26 AM, General News


OZO Debuts New Line of Frozen Plant-Based Proteins Available Nationwide at Kroger

After making its debut in the refrigerated aisle last June with the launch of OZO™, Colorado-based Planterra Foods is adding to their portfolio by making it even more convenient for families to have delicious plant-based meals at home with the launch of their frozen line offerings. Available now, consumers can add the OZO™ Smokehouse Burgers (four-3 oz patties) and Original Breakfast Sausage (six-1.67 oz sausages) to their freezer, with more frozen products coming this summer, including plant-based meatballs and plant-based chicken nuggets and patties.

The pandemic has forced people to get creative in the kitchen, and these innovative offerings are the perfect addition to weekday meals or weekend grill outs, with the option to heat and eat or freeze for later. This year, as grilling season approaches and more families come together for...

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Mar 24 8:25 AM, General News


How COVID-19 has Changed Eating Out Over the Last 12 Months In the UK

It’s 12 months since the UK’s first COVID-19 lockdown, and one of the sectors that has been most heavily impacted is hospitality. Here, The NPD Group picks out eight eating out/eating in trends from the pandemic’s first year (March 2020 to February 2021) and suggests how they will unfold as lockdown eases. From a surge in home deliveries to the growth of collection, the rise of eating on a deal, the surge of drive-thru, treating to beat boredom, a doubling of choosing vegan and veggie options, the rise of al fresco dining and a laser-like focus on delivering the best customer service, here’s how COVID-19 has changed the way we eat out (and in).

Delivery: In the 12 months of COVID, delivery’s share of out of home eating has more than doubled

Ordering takeaway main meals for home delivery has been a big part of locked down life and, according to The NPD Group’s consumer data, spend increased...

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Mar 24 8:24 AM, General News


USDA Increases SNAP Benefits Up to $100 Per Household with Funding from American Rescue Plan

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced today a 15 percent increase in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits through September 2021, providing an estimated $3.5 billion to households experiencing food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding is made possible by President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, which invests federal resources to reduce hunger across the country, strengthen the food supply chain, invest in rural America, and provide long awaited support to underserved, socially disadvantaged communities.

The 15 percent increase in SNAP benefits will provide about $28 more per person, per month, or more than $100 more per month for a household of...

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Mar 23 10:14 AM, General News


REPORTER: Industry Veterans Come Together to Open Colorado Lamb Processors

This article was originally featured in the Spring 2021 Edition of Urner Barry's Reporter magazine.

As Easter and Passover approach, one cannot help but to think about lamb when planning a holiday meal. This year, there’s a good chance you could be eating lamb that has passed through the country’s newest lamb harvesting facility—Colorado Lamb Processors in Brush, Colorado.

Colorado Lamb Processors, which opened in September 2020, is the first new lamb processing facility to be built in the...

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Mar 23 9:03 AM, Urner Barry


NAMI: Infections in Meat Sector 85% Lower than General Pop.; Urgent Need to Accelerate Vaccination

Nearly one year after the first reported cases of COVID-19 among meat and poultry workers, comprehensive protections have brought case rates to just 2.67 cases per day per 100,000 workers - more than 85% lower than rates in the general population (18.25 cases per day per 100,000 people) and more than 98% lower than the May 2020 peak in the sector (98.39 cases per day per 100,000 workers).

North American Meat Institute (Meat Institute) President and CEO Julie Anna Potts will discuss the latest COVID-19 data, effectiveness of protection measures implemented since spring 2020, and the sector’s advocacy for urgently expanded vaccinations during an executive roundtable March 23 at the Annual Meat Conference....

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Mar 23 8:15 AM, General News


Three New Sysco Foodie Solutions Toolkits Available for Restaurateurs

Sysco Corporation announced the addition of three new toolkits to its Foodie Solutions platform: Brunch, Protecting Your Business and Turning Your Tables. As more restaurants reopen their dining rooms, these are the latest in a series of carefully curated tools to help customers respond quickly to shifting business requirements and trends resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Brunch toolkit offers innovative ideas and recipes to help make Easter and Mother’s Day a success, including popular brunch and take-out concepts, such as Bloody Mary cocktail kits and a Mother’s Day “Berry Me in Chocolate” strawberry kit. In addition, “Sea-cuterie boards” are a unique play on the...

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Mar 19 8:31 AM, General News


Update on USDA Activities to Contain the COVID-19 Pandemic

In January 2021, President Biden released the National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness. The plan is driven by science, data, and public health to improve the effectiveness of our nation’s fight against COVID-19 and to restore trust, accountability and a sense of common purpose in our response to the pandemic.

The National Strategy provides a roadmap to guide America out of the worst public health crisis in a century. It is organized around seven goals...

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Mar 19 8:30 AM, General News


February Retail Sales Show Strong Year-Over-Year Growth as Vaccine and Stimulus Provide a Boost

Retail sales gained considerable year-over-year traction in February – despite a monthly slowdown from unusually high numbers in January – as increased COVID-19 vaccination, government stimulus and reduced restrictions on businesses continued to impact the pace of spending, the National Retail Federation said.

“February’s retail sales numbers are a minor speed bump on the road to post-pandemic recovery and are not a reflection of consumers’ willingness and ability to spend and drive the economy,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. "A number of factors contributed to these results, including major snowstorms in the northeast and unprecedented ice storms in the south, but they do not diminish the stimulus-related growth we saw in January or what we expect to see as additional stimulus relief hits consumer bank accounts in...

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Mar 18 8:15 AM, General News


States Begin to Ease Restaurant Restrictions Almost a Year After Start of Pandemic

It was almost a year ago that states began to shut down in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus. While essential stores, like grocery and hardware retailers, were allowed to remain open, other non-essential businesses were forced to shutter. The restaurant industry was among the most heavily hit, as they were forced to close their dining rooms and rely on takeout and delivery. 

In the months following the initial lockdown, states began to ease “stay at home” requirements and allowed restaurants and...

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Mar 17 12:14 AM, SeafoodNews


Tyson Foods Plans 19 Employee Vaccination Events Across Arkansas

Tyson Foods, Inc. is expanding its free, onsite COVID-19 vaccinations to all team members in the state of Arkansas, where 20 percent of the company’s U.S. workforce is based. March 15 through April 2, the company will hold 19 vaccination events to ensure the company’s 24,000 Arkansas employees have convenient access to the vaccine.

The vaccines are being provided in conjunction with Matrix Medical, local health departments and other healthcare providers where food processing workers are among the priority groups now eligible for vaccination...

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Mar 16 8:44 AM, General News


In a Year of Loss, the National Restaurant Association Secures Major Wins for Restaurant Relief

One year into the pandemic, the National Restaurant Association is celebrating the significant accomplishments that, in the face of enormous loss, supported the industry and built a foundation for rebuilding in 2021. The accomplishments of the last year have been both large and small, providing access to a myriad of resources that restaurants of all types have used to survive and on which they can continue to rely for recovery.

"Restaurants are the backdrop of the most defining moments in our lives, and in the last year, the COVID-19 pandemic has stolen that from us," said Tom Bené, President & CEO of the National Restaurant Association and CEO of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. "While local restaurants in every community fought to...

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Mar 16 8:27 AM, General News


ANALYSIS: Year-to-Date Veal Slaughter at All-Time Lows

Veal slaughter has continued to witness lower than average slaughter since mid-March 2020 when COVID-19 began affecting...

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Mar 16 8:26 AM, Urner Barry


American Food and Grocery Shopping Patterns have Changed One Year Into the Covid Pandemic 

Since the emergence of the COVID-19 global health crisis, 96% of Americans say they clean and disinfect their homes as much or more than before; nearly half (47%) are eating healthier and half are cooking more; and almost one in seven are watching more television as a form of self-care and snacking while they do it. These new or increased consumer behaviors have contributed to a 14% increase in American household grocery spending, according to NCSolutions (NCS), a leading company for improving advertising effectiveness for the consumer packaged goods (CPG) ecosystem.

Marking the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, NCSolutions conducted an analysis of 12 months of its consumer purchase data as well as findings from a newly fielded...

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Mar 16 8:23 AM, General News


Mar 16 8:21 AM, Urner Barry

VIDEO: State of the Market Episode 12: The Salmon Market

This week, Market Digest Podcast Host Laura Zinger speaks with Seafood Market Reporter and Seafood Price Current Co-Editor Janice Schreiber. Janice fills us in on seafood demand during the Lenten season, severe weather disrupting fresh market supply chains, Salmon's popularity at retail through the pandemic, and more!

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Update on USDA Activities to Contain the COVID-19 Pandemic

In January 2021, President Biden released the National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness. The plan is driven by science, data, and public health to improve the effectiveness of our nation’s fight against COVID-19 and to restore trust, accountability and a sense of common purpose in our response to the pandemic.

The National Strategy provides a roadmap to guide America out of the worst public health crisis in a century. It is organized around seven goals...

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Mar 15 9:27 AM, General News


What’s on the Menu: Global Foodservice Outlook

In many countries, including those in Europe and North America, Covid-19-related disruptions remain the most relevant driver of foodservice performance in the near term, as sales and foot traffic trends remain well-below pre-Covid levels. Notably, China, which is ahead of the curve in terms of both virus outbreak and containment, could be a potential indicator of the likely speed and scope of the foodservice recovery as the virus subsides.

As vaccinations and treatment advance, the focus of attention will shift from near-term recovery to more strategic matters. The most relevant performance drivers over the next 6 to 12 months will be...

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Mar 15 8:55 AM, General News


West Liberty Foods Holds COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic for West Liberty, Iowa Team Members 

West Liberty, Iowa-based West Liberty Foods recently announced that they successfully conducted a COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic for their team members located in West Liberty, Iowa. The announcement came after the FDA approved and endorsed the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, which became immediately available for use in Muscatine County, Iowa.

With the help of the Iowa Department of Public Health and Trinity Muscatine Public Health, West Liberty Foods was able to distribute 965 vaccinations on Friday, March 5th.

“Being considered an essential business during the Coronavirus Pandemic and beyond means we must continue to take the necessary precautions to...

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Mar 12 8:22 AM, General News


Kroger Health Increases COVID-19 Vaccination Capacity to One Million Doses Per Week

Kroger Health, the healthcare division of The Kroger Co. announced it has significantly increased operational capacity to administer the COVID-19 vaccine, achieving the ability to deliver one million doses per week through in-store pharmacies and clinics, and mass vaccination off-site events.

To vaccinate more Americans more quickly, Kroger Health will use the first hour of pharmacy operations as a focus hour assigned to administering the three FDA-authorized vaccines. Patients will continue to have the ability to schedule appointments for various times, but the morning focus hour will allow for additional COVID-19 vaccines to be administered. To accomplish the administration of one million doses per week, the plan requires...

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Mar 12 8:21 AM, General News


U.S. Restaurant Customer Transaction Declines Steepen in February

Severe weather in many parts of the country in February hampered the softening of customer transaction declines at major U.S. restaurant chains reported in the last few months of 2020 and this January, finds The NPD Group. Major restaurant chain customer transactions declined by -13% versus year ago, compared to a -9% decline in January, according to NPD’s CREST® Performance Alerts which provides a rapid weekly view of chain-specific transactions and share trends for 75 quick service, fast casual, midscale, and casual dining chains representing 53% of the commercial restaurant traffic in U.S.

Record-shattering cold, snow, and rain affected a large swath of the U.S. in February. Texas, the second most populated state after California, was hit with a winter storm in mid-February that dropped significant amounts of...

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Mar 12 8:19 AM, General News


Statement from Tom Vilsack on Congressional Passage of the American Rescue Plan Act

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made the following statement on passage of the American Rescue Plan Act by the U.S. Congress. The bill now goes to President Biden for his signature.

“President Biden wasted no time fulfilling his pledge to the American people to bring substantial financial relief within the first 100 days of his Administration. Thanks to passage of the American Rescue Plan, help is on the way. The American Rescue Plan will jolt our economy back to life, get money into the hands of struggling Americans, get our children back to school safely, get COVID-19 vaccinations out more swiftly, and...

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Mar 12 8:19 AM, General News


ANALYSIS: Elevated Pork Retail Pricing to Start 2021

Retail demand for pork during COVID has remained heightened compared to years past due to the vast majority of foodservice locations closing or...

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Mar 11 8:28 AM, Urner Barry


Nearly 4 in 5 Americans Believe Pizza is Better with Pepperoni on It

This year, National Pi Day (March 14, 2021) will once again be celebrated by the making and eating of the most enjoyed and desired pie across the country - pizza. A recent survey, commissioned by the makers of Hormel® Pepperoni and conducted online by The Harris Poll among over 2,000 U.S. adults, reveals that pepperoni is America's favorite pizza topping, with Americans being more than twice as likely to choose it above the next most popular option, sausage (38% vs. 15%). In fact, four in five Americans (80%) say pepperoni goes with pizza like peanut butter does with jelly.

Pizza traditions may be passed on for generations, with the pizza pie becoming symbolic with fun, laughter and gathering with those you love. This is particularly true among millennials (ages 25-40), 81% of whom have nostalgic memories of eating pizza with...

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Mar 11 8:26 AM, General News


Albertsons Companies Surpasses 1 Million COVID-19 Vaccines Administered

Albertsons Companies today announced that its pharmacies have now administered more than 1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

“Our pharmacy teams across the country are working diligently in serving our communities during this national effort. We are deeply grateful to our federal partners and local jurisdictions in delivering this important milestone,” said Omer Gajial, SVP of Pharmacy and Health at Albertsons Cos. “We continue to provide equitable vaccination solutions to underserved and rural customers and will...

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Mar 11 8:26 AM, General News


USDA Extends Free Meals to Children through Summer 2021 Due to Pandemic

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the nationwide extension of several waivers that allow all children to continue to receive nutritious meals this summer when schools are out of session. These flexibilities are now available through Sept. 30, 2021.

USDA is extending these waivers to provide local program operators with clarity and certainty for the summer months ahead, when many children cannot access the school meals they depend on during the academic year. The waivers were previously extended only through June 30, 2021.

“We will do everything we can to make sure children get access to healthy, nutritious meals regardless of their families’ financial circumstances,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Our child nutrition professionals are...

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Mar 10 10:03 AM, General News


January Red Meat Exports Below Year-Ago Levels Amid Transportation, Labor Challenges

U.S. beef and pork exports opened 2021 below the large volumes posted a year ago, according to January data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

Beef exports totaled 105,047 metric tons (mt) in January, down 2% from a year ago, while value slipped 3% to $653 million. The decline was due mainly to lower beef variety meat shipments, as muscle cut exports were steady with January 2020 at 81,398 mt, valued at...

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Mar 10 8:23 AM, General News


NAMI Calls on Biden Administration to Ensure Meat and Poultry Workers are Vaccinated

As some states begin to vaccinate essential meat and poultry workers, The North American Meat Institute (Meat Institute) today called for the Biden Administration’s help in ensuring all states prioritize these workers to receive the vaccine and its long-term protection from COVID-19.

Meat Institute President and CEO Julie Anna Potts encouraged the White House to ensure all states prioritize vaccine access for the diverse meat and poultry workforce, which will also maximize health benefits in rural communities than can have limited health services.

“Some states like Kansas, Colorado and Iowa are working with meat and poultry companies to facilitate the vaccination of their frontline employees to ensure...

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Mar 10 8:21 AM, General News


National Beef Begins Employee Vaccination in Kansas, Following Governor Kelly’s Announcement

More than 6,000 National Beef employees in Dodge City, Kansas, and Liberal, Kansas, are now eligible and have started receiving COVID-19 vaccinations, following an announcement that prioritizes meat processing workers for vaccine distribution in Kansas.

Governor Laura Kelly; Tim Klein, CEO of National Beef; UFCW Local 2 and other leadership groups in Kansas outlined a plan where Kansas meat processing employees and counties with meat processing plants will receive vaccine doses, earmarked explicitly for them.

"National Beef is grateful to all the partners who have helped provide vaccines for the meat processing industry's essential workers. We especially appreciate the state of Kansas, local health departments, and...

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Mar 9 10:10 AM, General News


CDC Issues First Set of Guidelines on How Fully Vaccinated People Can Visit Safely with Others

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued its first set of recommendations on activities that people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can safely resume.

The new guidance—which is based on the latest science — includes recommendations for how and when a fully vaccinated individual can visit with other people who are fully vaccinated and with other people who are not vaccinated. This guidance represents a first step toward returning to everyday activities in our communities. CDC will update these recommendations as more people are vaccinated, rates of COVID-19 in the community change, and...

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Mar 9 9:54 AM, General News


Mar 9 9:52 AM, Urner Barry Video

VIDEO: State of the Market Episode 11: The Boxed Beef Market

This week on State of the Market Gary Morrison is back with Laura to talk boxed beef demand, highlighting chuck rolls. As consumers are getting more adventurous with...

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PODCAST: UK Beef Chats Episode 7

This week on UK Beef Chats, Mike Nesbitt fills us in on the UK's plan to ease COVID lockdown restrictions, the affect that will have on wholesale trading, and gives us an update on...

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Mar 8 2:22 PM, Urner Barry


Urner Barry Presents Plant Protein Insights Webinar 

The plant protein sector is developing rapidly around the globe. Innovative and unique offerings enter the market daily under increased pressure for sustainable and nutritious alternative food options. Demand for plant protein ingredients has become an important benchmark for manufacturers, ingredient providers, startups, traditional protein suppliers, and investors interested in this space.

Join Urner Barry on Thursday, January 21, as host Laura Zinger interviews...

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Jan 21 8:29 AM, Plant Protein




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