The supermarket tally for an Independence Day cookout is a first-hand look at inflation — up by 17 percent from last summer, with the skyrocketing price of meat a leading reason. The American Farm Bureau Federation said on Monday that data from its volunteer price checkers nationwide indicated the groceries to feed 10 people at a cookout would cost $69.68, almost $10 more than last year.
In April 2020, when outbreaks of Covid-19 among slaughterhouse workers slowed U.S. meat production, the chairman of Tyson Foods said in full-page advertisements, "The supply chain is breaking." Two days later, President Trump signed an executive order to keep processing plants open during the pandemic. In retrospect, the meat supply chain was strained, but not broken, and production recovered quickly, said a team of economists in the journal Meat Science.
Rural counties dominated by meatpacking plants endured their second surge in coronavirus cases during this winter but the latest wave "does not appear to be driven by new outbreaks in the meatpacking industry," said the USDA. "Meatpacking-dependent counties have maintained an almost identical pattern to other rural counties for the last seven months."
Plant-based meats, an alternative to beef, pork and chicken, have only a toehold in the meat market but U.S. farmers expect their market share will grow rapidly. Half of the farmers surveyed by Purdue University said plant-based proteins could hold up to 10 percent of the meat market in five years and some expected the share to be much larger.
Creating cell-based meat that tastes and feels like muscle cuts from livestock has been one of the challenges of the young industry. Now, a team of researchers at Harvard's engineering school said they have grown rabbit and bovine muscle cells on edible gelatin 'scaffolds' that mimic the texture and consistency of naturally produced meat.
The two major food-safety regulators in the federal government will hear from the public on Oct. 23 and 24 on how to handle cell-based meat, a technological innovation that is nearing the marketplace. The meeting, announced on Monday, follows suggestions by the meat processors and Memphis Meats, a leader in the nascent industry, that the administration clarify lines of authority over cell-based meat.
The Food and Drug Administration held a public meeting Thursday on the safety and labeling of alternative “meat” proteins produced with animal cell culture technology. In a packed room, FDA employees, industry stakeholders, and scientists discussed current trends in the controversial sector, which some imagine could reshape how Americans consume meat. (No paywall)
More than a century ago, Congress put the USDA in charge of meat safety, including regulation of slaughterhouses and packing plants. A rider on the USDA-FDA funding bill for fiscal 2019, scheduled for a House Appropriations Committee vote on Wednesday, would expand the USDA's food safety portfolio to cover lab-grown meat, variously called clean meat by proponents and fake meat by ranchers.
With beef production accounting for nearly half of all land use and greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture, the World Resources Institute is touting what it calls a better burger.
On average, food companies improved their management of water by 10 percent compared to 2015, according to the report Feeding Ourselves Thirsty, published by the nonprofit investor coalition Ceres.
With the opening of a new factory, the plant-based company Impossible Burger says it plans to have its much-anticipated burgers on 1,000 menus by the end of 2017. “In mid-August, a factory in Oakland quietly began accepting shipments of wheat protein, potato protein, and heme, a “plant blood” produced via genetically modified yeast, says New Food Economy.
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.
A first-of-its-kind study lays out, on a county-by-county basis, the environmental impact of growing corn in the United States, offering the industry an unprecedented tool for improving sustainability along its supply chain.
Meat is significantly more affordable in America than it is in Europe, where prices are, on average, twice as high, and Asia, where many people can barely afford to buy it at all, says the 2017 meat-price index, released by Caterwings, a UK-based business-to-business catering service.
In a public letter, the chief executive officer of Impossible Foods defended the company’s methods of producing a popular plant-based burger that is designed to mimic meat. The method includes genetically engineering algae to produce a soy protein, which the FDA has said could raise allergen concerns.
The parent company of ABC paid $177 million to Beef Products Inc. to settle a defamation suit filed by the South Dakota meat processor over news stories aired in 2012, said CNN Money. A lawyer for BPI told CNN the settlement was larger than the figure listed by Walt Disney Co. in a quarterly earnings report, leading the network to say "the rest will presumably be covered by insurance."
The government lowered its forecast of grocery inflation this year to a barely noticeable 0.25 percent, due to ample meat supplies, and in its first forecast of the coming year, estimated grocery prices would rise by 1.5 percent in 2018. It would be the fourth year in a row of lower-than-average growth in retail food prices.
After buying Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, Amazon will meet this week with organic ranchers to discuss how the company might distribute their meat, says Reuters. One of the ranches, White Oak Pastures from Blufton, Georgia, sells $2 million annually online of frozen beef, duck and lamb, but is hopeful that teaming up with Amazon will improve its reach.
When researcher Linda Bacon showed 750 adults in Britain menus that included two plant-based entrees, they were half as likely to chose them if they were listed in a section called "Vegetarian Dishes." In a World Resources Institute blog, Bacon says the grouping "highlights the lack of meat or fish" and reduces interest for a variety of reasons.