1. The USDA Updates Rules for Egg Inspection

The USDA released new rules for egg product inspection, aiming to bring eggs into parity with meat inspection. Under the new rules, a full-time on-site inspector will no longer be required at plants that make egg products, rather an inspector will need to visit the facilities at least once per shift. The new rules also move inspection of freeze-dried eggs and egg substitutes from the FDA to fall under the jurisdiction of the USDA. The new rules are the first change to federal regulations regarding egg inspection since 1970. 

Read more on Food Dive here: New USDA rules modernize egg product inspection 

2. Wildfires Thwart Outdoor Dining on West Coast

Restaurants shifting to outdoor dining amid the pandemic face a new obstacle as wildfires across the Western U.S. continue to fill the skies with smoke, creating hazardously poor air quality. Outdoor dining has become an essential lifeline and safety strategy for restaurants struggling to survive the economic fallout of COVID-19 and while many areas still ban or restrict indoor dining. Now, restaurants up and down the West Coast are having to close patios and outdoor seating due to the poor air quality. 

Read more on Foodservice Director here: Foodservice operators out West face a new threat: Wildfire smoke

3. Kraft Heinz Eyes Savings in Supply Chain Efficiency 

Kraft Heinz announced it will open a new Ops Center to unite its supply chain functions, which the company anticipates will translate to $2 billion in savings over the next five years. The Ops Center will bring together many teams involved in supply chain processes, including procurement, production, distribution, marketing, and research and development. Kraft Heinz has additionally reduced its number of SKUs by approximately 20% in recent months and plans to continue reducing SKUs as part of this new strategy. This move is part of a shift towards increased integration, collaboration, and efficiency as new leadership aims to increase the company’s profitability. 

Read more on Food Dive here: Kraft Heinz to unite supply chain in 'Ops Center' to save $2B in 5 years 

4. Pandemic Puts Potatoes in High Demand

Potatoes are in high demand as people increasingly cook at home due to the COVID-19 crisis. Since the start of the pandemic, demand for fresh potatoes has increased 15–30%, according to the Colorado Potato Administrative Committee. As with many foods during the pandemic, consumers seem to prefer bagged or packaged potatoes. Demand has been particularly strong for 5- and 10-pound bags of potatoes as business has shifted away from foodservice. Suppliers expect demand to remain strong as consumers continue to cook and eat at home for both economic and pandemic-related reasons. 

Read more on The Packer here: COVID-19 crisis spurs uptick in bagged potatoes, suppliers say 

5. Study Shows Trends in Pandemic Shopping After 6 Months

According to Catalina, a company specializing in digital marketing, spending by grocery customers rose 6% in August. Customers’ number of shopping trips, meanwhile, fell 11% over the same period, as shoppers visited retailers an average of 6.7 times per month, down from 7.5 times in August of 2019. Basket size, however, has grown, with shoppers spending approximately 19% more on average per trip. As stockpiling tapered off after the early months of the pandemic, these trends may represent consumers settling into new shopping habits that could outlast the pandemic. 

Read more on Supermarket News here: Grocery basket size up, store trips down 6 months into pandemic 


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