1. New Canadian Regulations for Romaine Lettuce Imports

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) drafted new regulations, which would require importers of romaine lettuce from Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, San Benito and Monterey counties in California to provide certification that the lettuce contains no detectable levels of E.coli O157:H7. CFIA plans for the new regulations to go into effect from October 5 to December 31. This change is a preventative measure as recent years have seen multiple E.coli outbreaks linked to romaine lettuce from the Salinas Valley. 

Read more on The Packer here: Surprise Canadian plan on romaine import requirements raises alarm 

2. Americans Paying More for Groceries Amid Pandemic

According to a survey by C+R Research, which polled 2,040 U.S. consumers, 85% of Americans report paying more for groceries since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Findings showed consumers spending an average $139 per week on groceries. While the bulk of respondents (44%) reported spending $75-$149 weekly, 28% reported spending more than $150 and 51% reported spending more than $100. The higher spending comes as a result of increased prices which have not yet returned to pre-pandemic levels. Meat leads all food categories in increased pricing, with beef up 10.3% and poultry up 6.3%.

Read more on Supermarket News here: Among U.S. grocery shoppers, 85% say COVID-19 hitting them in pocketbook 

3. Report Predicts 651,000 Job Losses in Beer Industry Tied to COVID-19

According to a report by the Beer Institute, the Brewers Association, the National Beer Wholesalers Association and the American Beverage Licensees, the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the U.S. beer industry will result in 651,000 lost jobs by the end of the year. These jobs, supported by the beer industry, include over 3,600 brewing jobs, 1,800 distributing jobs, and 400,000 retail-related jobs. Retail spending on beer is also forecasted to decline more than $22 billion by the end of 2020. The U.S. beer industry supported more than 2.1 million jobs in 2018, but the industry has been hard hit by the pandemic as it relies heavily on sales from restaurants and event-based venues.

Read more on Food Dive here: Trade groups: Over 650K jobs tied to US beer industry will be lost due to COVID 

4. West Coast Initiative Engages Retailers in 50% Food Waste Reduction by 2030 

The Pacific Coast Collaborative (PCC) is leading the West Coast Voluntary Agreement to Reduce Wasted Food, a new initiative aiming to push food retailers and their supply chain partners to join in efforts to reduce food waste by at least 50% by 2030 in the Pacific Northwest. The initiative has already garnered support from major retailers including Albertsons and Kroger, the latter of which has previously announced its goal of becoming a “zero waste” company by 2025. While the initiative is led by the PCC, it is also supported by organizations including ReFED, the World Wildlife Foundation, and the Waste and Resources Action Programme. 

Read more on Grocery Dive here: West Coast initiative enlists food retailers to cut waste in half by 2030 

5. Schnucks to Use Autonomous Robot for Inventory Management

Schnuck Markets will expand its partnership with Simbe Robotics, deploying the company’s autonomous robot Tally in an additional 46 stores. Tally robots will roam store aisles autonomously, scanning shelves to capture real-time data for shelf and inventory optimization. Schnucks credits the robots with 14 better out-of-stock detection than manual auditing, leading to a 20% reduction in out-of-stocks where the robots have been in use. Following a three year trial in select locations, the move brings Schnucks’ number of robot-equipt stores up to 62 of their total 112. 

Read more on The Produce News here: Robot deployed to more than half Schnucks stores


Interested in more industry news? Check back on the iTrade blog as we publish our takes on the most important stories in the food and beverage industry every week.