With more than 24 million birds now dead, the avian flu is ravaging the poultry business in a growing number of Midwestern states. So many birds have been affected in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin that Jennie-O-Turkey is cutting back to only one shift at its Minnesota plant. Prices for poultry products are also expected to increase, while health experts are monitoring the avian flu very closely in fears that it could eventually infect humans.
Wendy's To Sell Off More Than 300 Restaurants
National restaurant chain Wendy's said that it plans to sell off 380 restaurants before this year is over and another 260 next year, Marketwatch reports. The company's efforts are meant to increase the company's profits and price per share. This past quarter, the company lost more than $27 million and is no doubt taking proactive measures to avoid any further erosion of its earnings. The efforts are apparently working. Following the announcement, the company's stock rose 1.6%. The company's stock is up 16% since the first of the year.
California Weighing Soda Tax
The California legislature is weighing a two-cent tax on soda and other sugar-based drinks, The Sacramento Bee Journal reports. The funds would be used to fight childhood obesity and other state projects. Other states are watching the outcome of these deliberations closely, as history has shown that as California goes, so goes the nation.
The FAA Approves Use Of Drones Over Farms
The U.S. FAA recently approved the use of drone helicopters outfitted with fertilizer and pesticide tanks for use over farms and vineyards, The Minnesota Star Tribune reports. The 200-plus-pound unmanned aircraft is considered ideal for use in hilly terrain and will prove itself to be invaluable as more uses for the drone technology are found. One major hurdle to overcome, however, is the current ban on beyond-sight flights. The drone industry sees that as a major barrier to developing economically-viable technology for additional commercial use, Marketwatch notes.
Alligator Meat Becomes A Popular Treat
Florida is known for its sunshine, great weather, and more than its share of alligators. Those last-mentioned creatures are now a favorite delicacy. Prices for alligator tail, loin, and rib meat are selling for $12 to $15 a pound, nearly double the price of 2012, The Wall Street Journal reports. The popularity of alligator meat has been promoted recently by Florida's Department of Agriculture and a number of food and travel shows.
Avocado Shortage Predicted
With California's avocado inventory in shorter supply due to the drought, and with Mexican and Chilean water supplies also in jeopardy, industry experts are predicting an avocado shortage that will impact both their availability and price to restaurant buyers. More than a billion pounds of avocados are sold in the U.S each year, averaging 20 million to 22 million pounds per week. This summer, with domestic and imported fruits, avocado supplies should reach 15 million to 20 million pounds per week, a shortfall of between 2 to 5 million pounds. Better get those orders in everyone.
According to research by Mintel, the term "seasonal salad"' has increased by 208% on restaurant menus over the past few years, while "fresh salad" has dropped nearly 50%. Also on the increase is "gluten free" and "vegetarian," clear indicators of the changing tastes of consumers.
Convenience Stores Take A Slice Out Of Pizzeria Sales
Pizza sales at roadside convenience stores are up by 20% over the past two years, while dough orders from convenience stores increased by 30% in just one year. While that comes as great news for the convenience store sector, pizzeria restaurants are not happy with the idea of sharing a slice of the $37 billion a year pizza business. Time to innovate and offer your guests more than just a pizza!
Millennials Are Adventuresome
When It Comes To Wine And Craft Beers Unlike Baby Boomers, who like their traditional wines and beer, their offspring enjoy trying new wines and craft brews along with locally sourced varietals. They also like learning more details about the origins of the wines and beers they order, Mintel researchers report. For savvy restaurants, attracting the Millennial crowd now means stocking more beers and wines for sale by the glass to help quench the curiosity of this younger audience. If you have a bar in your restaurant, consider hosting a tasting night for happy hour to attract a whole new generation of clientele. And don't forget to do your homework on what you are serving!
Iced Coffee Is Catching On
While coffee drinkers have always like a well-brewed iced coffee, restaurants are now adding specialty iced coffees to their menus, Nation's Restaurant News reports. In addition to the tried and true standard variety, "some eateries are going beyond traditional cold-brew with concoctions that mimic cocktails, such as the Espresso Old Fashioned made with espresso, bitters, simple syrup and a citrus twist at Everyman Espresso in New York City," NRN says.