Retail food inflation is slowing, but USDA reports farm prices for fruits and vegetables still running hot
Retail food inflation slowed in October but is still running up double digits compared with a year ago, a new USDA Food Price report says. The agency also said farm-level prices for fresh fruits and vegetables are running even hotter. Click here to read the full article.
At the Oklahoma City location of the Cajun-style seafood chain Hook & Reel, the decor is unsurprisingly nautical. Thick braids of rope are coiled decoratively around pillars, and a plastic shark hangs from the ceiling, baring its teeth in a wide, leering smile. Seafood comes to tables piled on platters or nested in fry baskets. Click here to read the full article.
Weekly beef cow slaughter has been higher year-over-year for 70 consecutive weeks. In that period, on only four occasions has the year-over-year increase been less than 3%. The latest weekly data shows that beef cow slaughter was up 2.7% year-over- year, just the second week this year in which the rate was up less than 3%. It’s too early to be sure but beef cow slaughter may be slowing down.
Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) continues to plague U.S. poultry producers, with three commercial turkey operations in South Dakota among the latest to be infected by the virus, affecting more than 174,000 birds.
The outbreaks in the Mount Rushmore state confirmed on Friday include a 50,700-turkey facility and a 67,000-turkey facility in Beadle County, as well as a 55,500-bird turkey meat producer in Spink County, according to the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
Of the roughly 60 detections confirmed among commercial and backyard flocks in South Dakota since March, more than 40 involved commercial turkey producers, the APHIS tally shows.
Still, turkey producers are not the only ones being hit by the deadly-to-birds virus. In Nebraska’s Dixon County, 1.7 million birds were affected by HPAI at a commercial table egg layer facility in a detection also confirmed on Friday, the agency said.
As of Monday, HPAI has been confirmed this year in 648 commercial and backyard flocks, affecting 52.48 million birds, or a couple million more than in 2014 and 2015.
Inflation threw a wrench into pandemic recovery, and with interest rates rising and the threat of a recession looming, the 2023 labor market could look very different than it does today.
Major tech companies have announced tens of thousands of layoffs in recent weeks while mortgage interest rates are at levels not seen in two decades, putting a damper on growth. Pandemic-induced supply chain issues have forced many manufacturers to lay off workers. The Federal Reserve has said it will keep raising interest rates until it has tamed inflation, which until last month was running above 8%. Click here to read the full article.
As the calendar transitions to winter, seasonal shifts in the cattle and beef industry will begin to appear with reduced slaughter, moderating weights, improvement in grade and slower beef demand following winter holiday buying.
Throughout most of the year, slaughter has outpaced expectations with both fed and non-fed slaughter on pace to finish above last year and total cattle slaughter expected to be the highest since 2010. Weights will likely average at all-time highs for fed cattle for the year. While weights do tend to increase over time, the last few years saw especially large increases with challenges surrounding packing capacity, so with improved harvest capacity and elevated grain prices, continued increases in weights has been somewhat of a surprise.
As inflation continues to cast a shadow over the economy, restaurants are turning to an age-old marketing tactic to keep customers coming in the door.
Barbell pricing—the practice of simultaneously promoting both high- and low-priced menu items—has made a comeback this year as operators look to appeal to two sets of customers: those who are hurting from inflation and those who aren’t. Click here to read the full article.
The alignment of the four unions that have voted not to ratify a labor deal has provided a clear timeline for strike prep plans among the freight railroads and with sensitive cargo including chemicals. Click here to read the full article from CNBC.
It’s taken nearly three years, but the bruised and battered catering industry is finally eclipsing its pre-COVID revenue figures with a larger portion of total food sales than ever.
This, as Compass Group, the world’s largest catering company, announced Monday (Nov. 21) that its revenue has now surpassed what it was pre-pandemic.
“We’ve emerged from the pandemic as a stronger and more resilient business and reached the important milestone of revenue exceeding 2019 levels,” CEO Dominic Blakemore told analysts on a call accompanying the company’s Q4 and full-year 2022 earnings release. Click here to read the full article.
Florida citrus growers got off easy following Hurricane Nicole, which hit the Sunshine State on Nov. 10, compared to the devastation caused by Hurricane Ian in late September. “There was some fruit on the ground as a result of the hurricane, but by and large, it sounds like we have, based on the early estimates, avoided the kind of disastrous impact that Ian had,” said Matt Joyner, executive vice president and CEO of Orlando-based Florida Citrus Mutual. The storms left some standing water, but he said Nicole was “mild compared to Ian.” Click here to read the full article.
Restaurants have been welcoming customers this holiday season by adding Thanksgiving items to their menus. SpotOn, a restaurant software and payment provider, reported a list of Thanksgiving meal trends it is seeing from the independent and small chain restaurants it serves across the U.S. Click here to read the full article.
As a turkey farmer in Sacramento County, Ken Mitchell acknowledged he’s been on edge since a highly pathogenic strain of avian influenza was confirmed in wild birds in the state over the summer. Click here to read the full article.
Spending time with family and friends at Thanksgiving remains important for many Americans and this year the cost of the meal is also top of mind. Farm Bureau’s 37th annual survey provides a snapshot of the average cost of this year’s classic Thanksgiving feast for 10, which is $64.05 or less than $6.50 per person. This is a $10.74 or 20% increase from last year’s average of $53.31. Click here to read the full article.
The well-documented diesel shortage in America is understandably causing concern across the country. But to what extent is the shortage cause for alarm for farmers and consumers alike? Opinions vary. From the pandemic, to the war in Ukraine, to the state of refineries, there are a multitude of reasons driving the diesel shortage; Business Insider recently reported on the particulars. Click here for the full article.
Fried chicken sandwiches are still a top trend, according to the 500 chefs surveyed for the 2023 “What’s Hot” Culinary Forecast released today by the National Restaurant Association.
The crowd favorite took the No. 2 spot in the Association's list of Top 10 overall trends and was No. 1 in the lunch category, but with a qualifier—these are “Chicken Sandwiches 3.0,” enhanced with spicy and sweet-heat fusion flavors. Click here for the full article from Restaurant Business.
On an October Thursday in Brighton, a dozen chatty patrons sipped Japanese liquor at The Koji Club. Bartenders described the sake — brews with names like Forgotten Fortune or Dragon God — as “ricey and rusty,” and a couple complained about their bosses over a plate of curry empanadas. It wasn’t the weekend, but it might as well have been. Read the full article here.
Chain restaurants have been reporting growing sales in the third quarter. But more sales don’t mean more customers. In fact, industry watchers are noticing that foot traffic to restaurants has been falling in recent months. That’s because as inflation eats into consumers’ budgets, many have been cutting back on their restaurant visits and eating at home more often. Click here to read the full article from CNN Business.
Ongoing outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza is nearing a grim toll, with the U.S. soon to overtake the 50.5 million birds lost the last go-round, in 2014-15.
As of Friday, the U.S. had confirmed 2022 detections among 628 commercial and backyard flocks, affecting 50.44 birds, according to the USDA’s Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service.
Recent outbreaks include a commercial duck breeder with 53,000 birds in California’s Fresno County and a commercial turkey facility in Otter Tail County, Minn., with 28,200 birds impacted.
HPAI was confirmed on Tuesday at a commercial broiler breeder outfit with 20,900 birds in Bledsoe County, Tenn., marking the first commercial facility in the state to get hit by the virus this year. Previously, two backyard producers were hit by HPAI in Tennessee, one in October and the other in September.
The poultry-killing virus is also a concern across U.S. borders, with Mexican authorities on Tuesday announcing the country would start vaccinating birds in high-risk areas, Reuters and other news outlets reported.
You might have a hard time finding good or affordable lettuce in the coming weeks due to a lettuce shortage. Jaime Chamberlain is the President of Chamberlain Distributing and has been in the business for 34 years. “We’ve seen a disease that’s hit the crops that hasn’t been seen in decades,” he said. “It’s approaching $70 a box right now.” Click here to read what's causing the shortage.
Just as U.S. consumers begin planning their food needs for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, lettuce growers in the desert of southwest Arizona and southern California are harvesting lettuce a little early to capture record high lettuce prices. The USDA reports that box prices on Nov. 7 ranged from just over $50 for Salinas-Watsonville romaine, to over $90 for iceberg from the same area. San Joaquin Valley iceberg sold for $82.55 to $91.50 per box. I’ve heard rumors of $95 lettuce. Click here to read more.
The US Department of Agriculture in its preliminary baseline projections as of October forecast US farmers will plant more wheat and corn in 2023 but fewer acres to soybeans. The projections for eight major crops included higher planted area for wheat, corn, sorghum, oats and rice from 2022 but lower area for soybeans, barley and upland cotton. Click here to read the full article.
Record-low water levels are causing major shipping jams just as the US needs to export this year’s harvest
The Mississippi River — the immense, quiet highway that courses down the middle of America, moving critical food, wood, coal and steel supplies to global markets — is shrinking from drought, forcing traffic to a crawl at the worst possible time. Click here to read the full article.
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) rose 0.4 percent in October on a seasonally adjusted basis, the same increase as in September, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 7.7 percent before seasonal adjustment. Click here for the full summary.
The cost of the typical Thanksgiving dinner spread has grown so much this year, it might be worth it to dine out, according to a new analysis from Wells Fargo.
It’s not just inflation driving the costs of staples such as eggs and butter higher. A devastating bird flu has hit the nation’s turkey producers, wiping out millions of birds. The price of turkey is expected to jump 23%. So much for the star of many a Thanksgiving spread. Click here to read the full article.
When the pandemic hit, self-serve foodservice options, including buffets, received unprecedented scrutiny. People were concerned about surface transmission of COVID-19 by sharing utensils and infecting one another by swapping too much of the same air due to standing next to each other for too long. As a result, operators across all segments sought to modify or even close their buffets entirely. Now, many are considering whether the time is right for buffets to make a comeback. The answer in many cases is yes, but the design and operation of self-service operations will need to heed the lessons learned from the past two years. Click here to read the full article.
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