The gap between restaurant price inflation and grocery deflation is over 3%, according to the National Restaurant Association. While menu prices have been rising 2.7%, grocery prices declined 0.9%. Decreasing farm-level and wholesale food prices have less impact on restaurants, where most costs are driven by labor and rent, reported Washington Post.
Sales of packaged/value-added/fresh-cut fruit are up nearly 3 percentage points, representing 37.8% of total fruit sales versus 34.9% in 2015, according to Progressive Grocer's 2016 Retail Produce & Floral Review. Sales of store-branded vegetables increased 3.4% to 18.5% of sales, and almost 33% of supermarkets surveyed increased organic fruit and vegetable sales.
Global sales of meat substitutes reached $4 billion this year, up 42% from 2010, according to Markets and Markets. Alternative protein makers may seek collaboration with traditional meatpackers, as outsourcing large-scale output is a way to greatly increase production, according to Impossible Foods, reported Reuters
A high protein diet may not help fend off diabetes, according to a study in Cell Reports. Researchers found that eating a high protein diet while losing weight doesn't improve insulin sensitivity, which helps prevent diabetes, but eating a standard amount of protein while losing weight resulted in a 25% to 30% improvement in insulin sensitivity, reported HealthDay.
Corn production is forecast at 15.1 billion bushels, up 11% from last year but down slightly from the September forecast, according to USDA. Yields are expected to average 173.4 bushels per acre, the highest on record, down one bushel from the September forecast but up five bushels from 2015. Soybean production is forecast at a record 4.3 billion bushels, up 2% from September and 9% from last year. Yields are expected to average a record 51.4 bushels per acre.
Yum! China will seek to grow to 20,000 locations, up from its current 7,300 locations, according to CEO Micky Pant. "The fundamentals of the brands in China are very strong," according to Pant, and sales are recovering from recent challenges. Analysts believe KFC in particular still has plenty of room for growth, but the limit may be lower than the long-term target, reported Reuters.
Groupon is offering food deliveries from more than 40 restaurants in St. Louis, MO, through Groupon to Go. St. Louis is the third expansion market under the Groupon to Go brand, reported St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Amazon plans to introduce convenience stores and curbside pickup locations in a bid to push deeper in the grocery business, according to people familiar with the matter. The convenience stores would carry produce, milk, meat and other perishable items. Customers would also be able to order peanut butter, cereal and other goods with longer shelf lives for same-day delivery, reported MarketWatch.
Walmart plans to add another 500 stores to its curbside grocery pickup program. The company is adding staff to work as personal shoppers, and training them on how to judge produce and meat for quality, as some consumers are hesitant to order groceries online because of concern that the produce wouldn't be as fresh as what they would have picked themselves, reported CBS News.
Fish wholesaler Isaacson & Stein Fish sold its buildings in Fulton Market in Chicago to a developer for $9 million. Isaacson & Stein joins a growing list of meatpackers and food distributors that sold properties to real estate investors in the Fulton Market District as rents and real estate values increased, reported Crain's Chicago Business.
USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture released up to $8.6 million in funding to assist low-income individuals and communities in developing local and self-reliant food systems. The estimated percentage of U.S. households that were food insecure in 2015 declined to 12.7% from a high of 14.9% in 2011.
Supplies of green beans will be limited until December due to a severe infestation of whiteflies in Georgia and losses caused by Hurricane Matthew in North Carolina. The issues in North Carolina and southern Georgia are forcing buyers to look to Florida, even though the state's harvest could be lighter than normal, reported The Packer.
Demand for Brussels sprouts is strong enough that California farmers can't keep up. A 25-lb. carton of Brussels sprouts sold for $30 in the first week of October, with farmers reporting very good yields and quality as production begins to pick up, reported AgAlert.com.
USDA plans to purchase $20 million of cheddar cheese to reduce a private cheese surplus that reached record levels, while assisting food banks and other food assistance recipients. Low world market prices, increased milk supplies and inventories, and slower demand contributed to a sluggish marketplace for dairy producers and caused dairy revenues to drop 35% over the past two years.
Orange output in Florida is poised to drop for a fifth straight season, according to a Bloomberg survey. In the 12 months starting Oct. 1, the state will collect about 63.2 million boxes of the fruit, according to the average of 10 analyst estimates. Output waned due to excess rains early this year and the continued impact of crop disease, reported Southeast Farm Press.
Thai Union Group PCL acquired a 25% stake in Red Lobster Seafood Restaurants for $575 million. The deal will help Thai Union boost its business in the U.S., and includes the option to acquire an additional 24% of the company through the conversion of preferred shares, reported Reuters.
Entrepreneurship in the Canadian fast food sector is showing no signs of slowing down, according to the Canadian Franchise Association (CFA). Since 2010, the category grew 45.6%, with restaurants commanding 40% of the Canadian franchise market overall. The CFA cited ethnic foods, healthy/nutritious foods and decadent treats as trends in the food sector entrepreneurs may want to consider, reported Globe and Mail.
Tyson Foods acquired a 5% stake in Beyond Meat, a producer of plant-based burger patties. The move helps broaden Tyson's range of products and investments beyond its core business in meat processing, reported MarketWatch.
Children and teens are more likely to consume sugary drinks if they get a fast food combo meal that comes with a beverage, according to a study in the American Journal of Public Health. Researchers found parents who picked combo meals for their children were 24% more likely to order a sugar-sweetened drink instead of an unsweetened beverage or no drink at all, reported HealthDay.
Beef prices may continue to fall through 2019 as an increase of beef hits the market. The surplus of beef was caused by a buildup in stock after record prices in 2015, reported Chicago Tribune.