Last month, workers at a Chipotle in Augusta, Maine, announced that they intended to form a union — the first of the chain’s roughly 3,000 locations to do so. This week, Chipotle said it will close the store permanently. The move came the same week that Amy’s Kitchen, the vegetarian frozen-food company that has reportedly been fighting attempts by its workers to unionize, announced that it’s closing the San Jose, California, factory where workers complained of “unrelenting managers, poor working conditions, and demanding production mandates.” (No paywall)
The pandemic and its accompanying economic slowdown prompted a dramatic 7.8 percent cutback in consumer spending on food in 2020, said two USDA economists. The reduction was more than double the impact of the Great Recession on food sales, partly because the pandemic temporarily shut down most of the food service sector.
Meals at full-service restaurants cost 4.3 percent more than a year ago and prices at fast food outlets soared by 6.6 percent, said the Labor Department's monthly report on inflation. The increases were the largest for either category since record-keeping began on them in 1996, said the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The executive order President Joe Biden signed on Tuesday effectively bypasses a major pandemic relief bill that had been stuck in Congress, and represents a significant step in addressing two major crises: unprecedented rates of food insecurity and the nation’s ailing restaurant industry.(No paywall)
The SingleThread restaurant in Northern California's Sonoma County is best known for multi-course meals that have won it widespread acclaim and three Michelin stars. What's less well known is that the farm-to-table restaurant, now facing a pandemic, is already confronting the ravages of climate change, from fires to floods, that threaten its existence, according to FERN's latest story, produced in collaboration with Eater. (No paywall)
A restaurant in Toronto is avoiding food waste by chopping menu prices on Sunday night until all the food it wants to sell is gone, much to the delight of its diners, reports Jonathan Bloom in FERN’s latest story, produced in partnership with NPR’s The Salt.(No paywall)
Allegations brought as part of the #MeToo movement have revealed the abusive behavior of several high-profile chefs and restaurateurs, sparking a national conversation about sexual harassment and gender inequity in the restaurant industry. But for many women working in that industry, the revelations came as no surprise. On Monday, FERN hosted a panel in Brooklyn of top woman chefs and food activists to discuss the problem, and how to work toward a more equitable and inclusive future. (No paywall)
U.S. food prices will rise a scant 1.5 percent this year, continuing a three-year run of below-normal food inflation rates, said a USDA forecast, pointing to grocery store prices that are at a near standstill.
Thanks to the strong dollar, food inflation is standing still this year following the first instance, in 2016, of food deflation since the 1960s, says the USDA. In a new forecast, USDA economists say overall supermarket price levels in 2018 could be lower than they were in 2015.
Washington chef and restaurateur Jose Andres hit a milestone in relief work in Puerto Rico: Serving the 1 millionth meal to hurricane victims in three weeks through his World Central Kitchen, aided by hundreds of volunteers. Restaurateur Guy Fieri, a resident of Santa Rosa, Calif., cooked meals for wildfire evacuees in Sonoma County.
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.
Gov. Larry Hogan stood aside and let a Maryland law take effect without his signature that will bar use of medically important antibiotics to promote weight gain among cattle, hogs and poultry. The Maryland law will take effect on Jan. 1, 2018, the same implementation date as a similar law enacted in 2015 in California, the only other state to control antibiotic use with the goal of preserving the effectiveness of the drugs to fight disease in humans.
The world’s first Nutella Cafe is set to open on Chicago’s famed Michigan Avenue in a location abutting Grant Park, whose grassy and wooded expanse leads to the Lake Michigan shoreline, says Eater.
Thieves are stealing fryer oil from restaurants, as the price per pound climbs to 25 cents, up from 7.6 cents per pound in 2000. “[T]hanks to a 2007 energy law, oil companies must use 2 billion gallons of biodiesel this year, 100 million gallons more than last year, and the most ever in U.S. history. Most of that biodiesel is made from soybean oil, but old fryer grease is the second largest (and fastest growing) source,” says Eater.
The L.A. Times has named its first-ever Restaurant of the Year, but it didn’t go to the usual high-end suspects. Instead Locol — a burger restaurant started by renowned chefs to serve customers in Watts, where unemployment and gang violence are rampant — is the winner.
U.S. food prices will rise by a marginal 1 percent this year, the second-smallest increase since 1974, and it's all due to lower grocery prices, said a government forecast. Groceries, which are the bulk of food spending, would cost less this year than they did in 2015 — the first taste of price deflation at the supermarket since 1967.
Americans aren’t eating out like they used to, and restaurants are feeling the pain. According to Bloomberg, U.S. restaurant sales “grew in the second quarter at their slowest pace since 2009,” partially because customers find it too expensive to eat out. Restaurants have had to raise menu prices to keep up with higher minimum wages and other cost factors, while grocery prices have dropped for the last 10 months straight.