From meat to milk, grocery prices galloped higher, rising by 10 percent in the last 12 months, said the Labor Department on Tuesday. It was the biggest increase in food-at-home prices in 41 years, according to the monthly Consumer Price Index report.
When the pandemic closed schools and restaurants last winter, Americans went to the supermarket to stock up on food for the stay-at-home weeks. Grocery sales skyrocketed by 32 percent last March and have remained strong, averaging $6 billion a month above pre-Covid levels, said the Census Bureau on Wednesday.
Grocery delivery is nothing new, and it certainly has become much more common since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. But for stores like Michigan Hometown Foods, which is the lone grocery in a town of 275 people, the process looks a lot different than it does in a larger city, as Stephanie Parker reports in FERN latest story.(No paywall)
Cities and states across the country are pushing farmers' markets and grocery stores to enhance their public health measures after officials found some initial attempts at social distancing policies lacking. Yet grocery workers say that in order to effectively prevent the spread of coronavirus and keep themselves healthy, they need more protections and benefits. (No paywall)
As the novel coronavirus spreads, many people have stocked up on pantry items and paper products in anticipation of hunkering down at home for an extended period, creating temporary shortages of certain products. To better understand the grocery supply chain and how stores are stocked, FERN turned to Dr. Ananth Iyer, a professor of supply chain management at Purdue University and director of the university's Global Supply Chain Management Initiative. (No paywall)
Some Whole Foods employees are instigating a union drive, according to a letter leaked to the press Thursday. Citing layoffs and falling morale since the company’s 2017 acquisition by Amazon, the workers plan to push for higher wages and better benefits.
A new report from the USDA found that while independent grocery stores outnumber chain grocers in rural areas, they account for a smaller percentage of grocery sales.
Members of the millennial generation, born between 1981 and 1996, are less likely to go to the grocery store than Baby Boomers or Gen X-ers and spend less per person when they do go to the store, write two USDA economists. "Millennials are demanding healthier and fresher food — including fruits and vegetables — when making food-at-home purchases, and they place a higher preference on convenience than to other generations."
California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a bill that would have required employees at meal-kit delivery companies, like Blue Apron, to obtain food-handler cards for dealing with unpackaged ingredients, reports the LA Times. The bill was sponsored by the companies’ competitors, including the California Grocers Assn. and United Food and Commercial Workers State Council.
Despite rumors of cheaper groceries, prices at Whole Foods have only decreased by 1.2 percent overall after Amazon bought the company for $13.7 billion five weeks ago, says a study by the research firm Gordon Haskett.
The market for plant-based foods grew an average of 8.1 percent last year, compared to a decline of 0.2 percent for all other foods, according to data compiled by the retail sales research group, Nielsen. According to the report, which was funded by the The Good Food Institute and Plant Based Foods Association, the market for plant-based meats specifically rose 6 percent from a year ago, while plant-based dairy alternatives saw 20 percent growth. Nielsen found a 5-percent decrease in cow-milk sales, but a 3.1-percent increase in sales of plant-based milk.
The biggest grocery store chains have been quick to reopen in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, a sign of just how vital the retailers are to disaster food relief. “On Tuesday, at the height of the flooding, Walmart had closed 134 Houston-area stores. By Thursday, only 21 stores remained closed. H-E-B (a Texas-based grocery chain) also had reopened almost 90 percent of its stores by then. Of the 20 stores owned by Albertson's, 16 are now open,” says NPR.
Amazon is lowering prices on a few items at its newly acquired Whole Food’s stores, but that doesn’t mean the grocery retailer will become the best bargain in town quite yet or that other companies will feel pushed to lower their prices too. “Shoppers shouldn’t expect a price war to break out,” …
The average business saves at least $14 for every dollar spent on reducing food waste, according to a new study by Champions 12.3, a coalition of governments, retailers, research organizations and advocates determined to reach the UN’s global goal of cutting food waste at the producer and consumer levels in half by 2030. Some of the group's heavy hitters include Kellogg Company, Sodexo, WRI, and Tesco, a popular UK chain of supermarkets.
In Manhattan, Whole Foods' latest store offers customers a “produce butcher” to cut up vegetables in real time — and for a price. According to the store’s sign, the produce butcher will “julienne (long, thin matchsticks), mince, dice, chop, and slice” produce for a dollar a pound, says Modern Farmer.
The welter of product date labels, ranging from "Sell By" to "Use By" and "Expires On" would be reduced to two standard phrases under a voluntary initiative by foodmakers and grocers. The new phrases would be "BEST If Used By," to assure product quality, and "USE By," to prevent perishable foods from going bad before use.
It's called "Shop with Your Doc," an initiative that stations doctors and nutritionists at supermarkets in Orange County, Calif, "to answer questions and offer advice about healthy eating — all for free," says the Los Angeles Times. Health economic professor Glenn Melnick, of USC, says it's part of an evolution of the healthcare system to try to improve community health.
Too small to support a big box supermarket, some rural towns are turning to alternative grocery store models to feed their populations, says High Country News. In Walsh, Colo., (pop. 600), townspeople invested in $50 shares to jumpstart a grocery store.
Publix, the country’s fifth-largest supermarket chain, became the last of the top 25 grocery companies to pledge to sell only cage-free eggs within the decade, reports the Orlando Sentinel.