Under pressure from Mexico and Canada, the U.S. Congress authorized the removal of place of origin labels from meat products sold in the U.S. The action comes following a World Trade Organization ruling against the U.S. that labeling discriminated against Canadian and Mexican meats, which promoted the two countries to seek monetary compensation that totaled an estimated $3.7 billion. The U.S. claims that the labeling costs outweighed the benefits, since most Americans do not seem to care where their meat comes from, The Wall Street Journal report.
Food Trucks Will Grow
Maybe it is time to think about a food truck. According to the National Restaurant Association, the food truck business is expected to grow 3% to 5% over the next five years to grow into a nearly $3 billion business. Ironically, of those people surveyed less than half of the respondents said they have never eaten at a food truck.
Consider A Snack Menu
According to a study by Sullivan Higdon & Sink's FoodThink, most of us love to snack, but some of us love it more than others. Millennials, for instance, like to snack more than the rest of us. Most snackers do it for fun. More than 55% of consumers say they snack for dietary reasons, while 38% of respondents say that snacks are their favorite food.
Milk and Dark Chocolate Lovers Rejoice!
According to HealthDay, chocolate can lower the risk of heart disease or stroke in consumers 45 and older by as much as 45%. The research is based on the results of several studies noting that 3 to 5 ounces of milk or dark chocolate a day will keep the heart doctor away.
Tablets Increase Orders
In a new survey by The Yakima Herald, restaurants that provided tablet-based menus to patrons saw a 20% spike in appetizer sales and a 30% rise in dessert sales. In the restaurants where the tablets are being used, owners insist they are not meant to replace staff, but instead note that they are intended to enhance customer experience. As proof, they point to the fact that patrons still need a waiter to order alcoholic drinks and entrees. The systems are being deployed at chains such as Applebee’s, Red Robin, Chili’s, Olive Garden, and Buffalo Wild Wings, where management says their reception has been very good.
Heinz Offers Two New Sizes of Its Famous Ketchup
The Heinz Company, made famous by its 57 varieties, now has two more contenders, 32-ounce sizes of organic and sugar-free versions of its legendary condiment, BusinessWire reports. Heinz says that sales of the organic and real sugar varieties have nearly doubled over the past two years, leading the company to now introduce the larger sizes.
Rewards Programs Are Important
Two out of five respondents believe that rewards' programs are important in making dining decisions, Technomics reports. For 50% of millennials, rewards' programs are even more important at limited service restaurants, and 53% say it is important for full-service restaurants. Millennials also feel WiFi, online reservations, and online ordering are also significant in making dining decisions.
State Of Restaurant Industry
Depending upon what type of restaurant you run, it is the best of times or the worst of times. For quick-service establishments, the industry grew 2.2% last year, while full-service restaurants dropped slightly, leading some pundits to complaint that the industry is in a rut. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, however, 2014 added 9,000 new restaurants to the American landscape, not explosive growth by any means, but growth nonetheless.
Hormel Buys Applegate Farms
Interested in expanding into the organic market, Hormel is buying Applegate Farms, the maker of natural and organic meats, for about $775 million. It is the company's largest acquisition and meant to grow Hormel's presence in the growing organic marketplace. Applegate will add 7 to 8 cents a share to Hormel’s earnings in the next fiscal year and roughly $165 million to net cash flow, The New York Times reports.
Bob Evans To Sell Off Real Estate
Bob Evans Farms Inc. announced that it plans to sell off 60% of the real estate associated with its 500-plus restaurants, Nation's Restaurant News reports. The company may arrange a sell-lease backup, re-franchising deal, or set up a REIT for its properties, depending upon the company's performance. The decision comes after activist shareholders won four seats on the company's 12-member board. Meanwhile, the company is also restructuring, and announced the layoff of 60 employees at the company's headquarters.
Starbucks Closing La Boulange Units
In a rare setback, Starbucks announced it will shutter all 23 La Boulange bakery-cafes throughout the San Francisco area. Starbuck's bought the chain in 2012 in hopes of parlaying its food and distribution business into feeding Starbucks across the nation. In closing the stores along with a bakery, Starbucks is reassigning all La Boulange employees to other Starbucks’ locations, but it pledges that it still plans to grow the food business throughout its sprawling empire.
Carbonated Water Soars
Riding the tide against sugary drinks, carbonated water sales have jumped 29% over the past five years. Soda sales, meanwhile, have dropped 7% over the same period, The Wall Street Journal reports. The trend is not lost on big distributors. The Dr. Pepper Snapple Group is repositioning Schweppes and Canada Dry brands to meet growing demand for carbonated water in various flavors.