1. U.S. Hazelnuts on Track for Historic Crop

Hazelnut crops are on track to set records this year, according to the Subjective Yield Survey conducted annually by the Hazelnut Marketing Board, which estimates a 2020 crop yield of 59,000 tons. That yield, if it bears fruit, would be approximately 30% higher than the 2019 season. This increase comes as acres of young hazelnut orchards planted over the past decade reach nut-bearing age, especially in Oregon, which grows 99% of U.S. hazelnuts and 5% of the world total. 

Read more on The Produce News here: Record crop for U.S. hazelnut industry

2. FMI Joins U.S. Plastics Pact in Pursuit of Circular Economy 

FMI, The Food Industry Association, has joined the U.S. Plastics Pact, which seeks to implement initiatives driving a circular economy for plastics across more than 70 brands, retailers, NGOs and government agencies. The initial goal of the pact—to be completed by 2021—is to identify specific problematic or unnecessary types of packaging to be eliminated. By 2025, however, the pact sets its sights on an ambitious slate of changes in plastic packaging, including recycling or composting 50% of all plastic packaging and increasing the content of plastic packaging that comes from recycled or responsibly sourced bio-based materials to 30%. The pact aims for 100% of plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable, or compostable by 2025.

Read more on Progressive Grocer here: FMI Now Part of U.S. Plastics Pact 

3. Survey Finds 90% of New York Restaurants Unlikely to Be Profitable in 6 Months Without Relief

In a recent survey by the New York State Restaurant Association (NYSRA), nearly 90% of New York restaurant owners reported that, without significant government relief, it will be somewhat or very unlikely that their restaurants will be profitable within the next six months. Additional findings show that between April and July, approximately 94% of restaurants saw lower sales volume, many by 70% or more. President & CEO of NYSRA Melissa Fleischut urged the federal government and the state legislature of New York to take action to support restaurants and avoid continued job losses as nearly 55% of New York restaurants report having to lay off or furlough 90-100% of employees since the COVID-19 outbreak.

Read more on Total Food Service here: NYSRA Survey: 90% of Restaurants Unlikely To Be Profitable In Next 6 Months Without Gov’t Assistance 

4. Produce Retail Sales Steadily Above 2019 Levels Through Summer 

Unlike the early months of the pandemic, which saw huge spikes in produce retail sales as people prepared for long lockdowns at home, recent months have seen much steadier purchasing. June, July and August have largely seen purchasing around 10% above 2019 year-over-year. These sales are well above pre-pandemic spending levels, according to PMA data, but may change as the new school year gets underway. Compared to vegetable purchasing, which has been fairly stable—possible because of people cooking at home more frequently—fruit purchasing has seen much more fluctuation. 

Read more on The Packer here: ‘Everyday demand’ keeping produce retail sales above 2019 baseline 

5. Changes in Beverage Consumption May Outlive COVID-19

The COVID-19 outbreaks have spurned several major trends in beverage consumption, many of which are likely to outlive the pandemic, including increased in-home consumption of coffee and alcohol. Other emerging trends include a focus on health and wellness, with more people buying high-protein, probiotic, antioxidant-rich, plant-based, or immune system boosting beverages. Multipacks and larger sizes have also increased sales during the pandemic as consumers make fewer trips to the store. More sugar-heavy drinks like carbonated sodas, bottled juices, and iced tea on the other hand, may continue to decline.

Read more on Progressive Grocer here: Changing Consumer Beverage Trends


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