1. Aldi Launching SNAP Access for Online Grocery via Instacart

Aldi and Instacart are partnering to make online grocery available to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants by electronic bank transfer (EBT). Rolling out over the upcoming months, the program is slated to launch at more than 570 Aldi stores in California, Florida, Illinois, and Pennsylvania after an initial trial in 60 Aldi stores in Georgia. The move will give SNAP participants access to use Instacart’s same-day pickup and delivery services at Aldi stores, allowing them to allocate specific amounts of their SNAP benefit to paying their order. 

Read more on Supermarket News here: Aldi, Instacart team on EBT integration for SNAP online grocery purchases 

2. Pandemic Potato Boom Continues, Hitting Highest Sales in 5 Years

Sales of all potato products have hit five-year highs as the pandemic continues to spurn elevated demand. According to research from Chicago-based firm IRI, overall potato sales are up 16.4% in dollars, and 10.6% in volume, during the three month period from July through September compared to the same period in 2019. By dollar amount, frozen potato sales grew by 24%, while 10-pound bags saw sales increase by 22%. Both categories saw 20% volume increases while medley, petite, and yellow potatoes increased by 20% in volume and bags larger than 10 pounds fell in volume about 9%, the only category to do so. 

Read more on The Packer here: Pandemic purchases boost potato sales past 5-year records 

3. Research Predicts Restaurant Profits Rebounding to 15% Increase in 2021 

In a new report, Moody predicts U.S. restaurant industry profits to rise an estimated 15% in 2021. While the restaurant industry still faces significant challenges with colder weather and uncertainty around indoor dining amid potential resurgences of COVID-19, gradual improvements are expected over the coming year as restrictions lift and consumers slowly return. Operating profits have fallen some 30% in the restaurant industry over the course of the pandemic this year.

Read more on Restaurant Dive here: Restaurant operating profits will rise 15% in 2021, Moody's predicts 

4. Lidl to Invest in Air Filtration Amid Ongoing Pandemic 

Lidl announced it will install hospital-grade air filtration systems in all of its U.S. stores by the end of the year as part of its strategy for keeping shoppers safe amid the pandemic. According to public health officials, the filtration systems, rated MERV 13 or higher, help filter the virus out of the air. The move comes as the Centers for Disease Control issues recent guidelines stating that COVID-19 may spread by airborne transmission. 

Read more on The Produce News here: Lidl to install hospital grade air filters in all U.S. stores 

5. Unpredictable Thanksgiving Could Pose Next Hurdle for Meat Industry

With gatherings limited due to the risk of COVID-19, Thanksgiving will look very different for many consumers this year. Cutting down on travel and crowded celebrations could mean unpredictable demand for turkey farmers in the U.S., the largest global producer and exporter of turkey in the world. Some producers fear being left with overstocks of large turkeys while demand shifts toward smaller birds in a year when meat producers have already faced shutdowns and other hurdles due to the pandemic. 

Read more on Food Dive here: As coronavirus curbs Thanksgiving plans, turkey farmers face uncertainty 


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