Today’s Summit F&B Listening Report:
Top News/F&B Headlines:
- Flawed tests, scarce supplies and limited access to screening have hurt the U.S.’s ability to monitor Covid-19, governors and health officials warn. As President Trump pushes to reopen the economy, most of the country is not conducting nearly enough testing to track the path and penetration of the coronavirus in a way that would allow Americans to safely return to work, public health officials and political leaders say. Although capacity has improved in recent weeks, supply shortages remain crippling, and many regions are still restricting tests to people who meet specific criteria. Antibody tests, which reveal whether someone has ever been infected with the coronavirus, are just starting to be rolled out, and most have not been vetted by the Food and Drug Administration.
- The Trump administration gave states a set of guidelines, titled “Opening Up America Again,” that laid out a series of phases for how they could think about reopening. In states judged to be doing well enough to enter the first phase, people would still be urged to avoid socializing in groups of more than 10, employers would be asked to encourage telework, and schools would remain closed. But some large venues — including restaurants, movie theaters, sporting venues and places of worship — would be allowed to operate under strict physical distancing protocols.
- Chinese officials on Friday said that the world’s second-largest economy had shrunk in the first three months of the year, ending a streak of untrammeled growth that survived the Tiananmen Square crackdown, the SARS epidemic and even the global financial crisis. The data reflects China’s dramatic efforts to stamp out the coronavirus, which included shutting down most factories and offices in January and February as the outbreak sickened tens of thousands of people.
- A federal loan program intended to help small businesses keep workers on their payrolls has proved woefully insufficient, with a staggering 22 million Americans filing for unemployment in the last four weeks. The program, called the Paycheck Protection Program, was in limbo as the Small Business Administration said Thursday that it had run out of money. Congress initially allocated $349 billion for the program, which was intended to provide loans to businesses with 500 or fewer employees. The money has gone quickly, with more than 1.4 million loans approved as of Wednesday evening.
- Bread making is enjoying a pandemic-driven renaissance right now, but it’s hitting one hitch: No one can find any yeast. Shortages of dry yeast have been a consistent complaint since business shutdowns and stay-at-home orders have kept most Americans eating in—and hoarding many dry and canned goods to prepare. But the supply chain issues may not have anything to do with actual ingredients. Instead, a major problem seems to be getting all that yeast packaged.
- Coronavirus has stricken workers at nearly half of Wayne Farms’ 11 chicken processing plants and two of its 17 feed mills and hatcheries in the southeastern U.S., the poultry producer confirmed on Wednesday. However, the Continental Grain Co. subsidiary declined to specify the number of employees who tested positive for the virus nor identify the affected sites, with a spokesperson saying the situation is “constantly changing.” With annual sales exceeding $2 billion, the Oakwood, Georgia-based processor is the country’s seventh-largest poultry producer and employs more than 9,000 people in five states: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi and North Carolina.
Consumer Search Behavior:
Today’s searches focus on Brian Dennehy, a Tony award-winning actor, who passed away at 81. Also, Gilead Sciences’ antiviral drug is reportedly showing promise for treatment of the coronavirus. Remdesivir is causing “rapid recoveries in fever and respiratory symptoms, with nearly all patients discharged in less than a week” in patients at a Chicago hospital.
F&B specific – Very similar to what we’ve seen in the past weeks, consumers are searching for favorite cuisines near their location to pick up.
Heroes– who’s making the news for doing the right thing:
- Produce Partners is joining forces to bring fresh produce to healthcare workers during the COVID-19 crisis. This company is working with healthcare establishments to provide boxes of fresh produce for their employees to take home at the end of a long shift – at no cost to the employees or hospitals. Each box is packed with enough fruits and vegetables to feed a family of four for up to one week and includes nutritionally rich items ready to be used in flavorful, fresh, healthy meals and snacks.
- Google said it would grant its employees up to 14 weeks of paid leave to care for family members during the coronavirus shutdown, an increase from the six weeks of paid leave it made available in March. Under the new policy, the leave can be taken in half-day increments, allowing workers to stretch it across more than six months if necessary.
- The LEGO Group is offering their assistance to healthcare workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis by using their facilities to produce thousands of protective facial visors. According to an Instagram post that was published by LEGO earlier this week, the company’s Billund-based factory in Denmark has reworked some of their machinery to make more than 13,000 plastic masks per day. The masks will reportedly be distributed to hospitals and medical facilities across the country.
- An English World War II veteran who has been walking laps around his back garden has raised over £2.6 million pounds ($3.3 million) for the NHS in just one week. 99-year-old Tom Moore says the NHS (National Health Service) have been “marvelous” in helping him recover from a hip replacement and skin cancer on his head over the last couple of years. As a way of saying thank you, the former civil engineer has been doing daily laps of his 25-meter-long (82-foot) garden with the aim of walking 100 lengths by his 100th birthday on April 30th. Moore, who began his walks last Monday on April 6th, initially set a fundraising target of £1,000 for NHS Charities Together with the sole expectation of garnering support from his village of Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire.
We’ve seen companies take admirable strides in order to help employees and community members in need of help due to the effects of COVID-19. This latest effort hits home as a publishing house takes strides in publishing an e-cookbook meant to help those affected by COVID-19.
Penguin Random House has compiled “Family Meal: Recipes from Our Community,” a digital collection of more than 40 recipes from authors it works with. The $5.99 digital book, set to be released on May 5, includes dishes from the likes of Hugh Acheson, Dan Barber, Molly Baz, Bobby Flay, Edouardo Jordan, Kwame Onwuachi, Ruth Reichl and Danny Trejo. All proceeds go to the Restaurant Workers’ COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund, which supports on-the-ground efforts in the restaurant community during this challenging time.
Philanthropic efforts during this time speak volumes as we continue to see companies make strides towards bringing together its audience and community. By creating an e-cookbook at an affordable price that features notable chefs, Penguin Random House is looking past its bottom line in order to support restaurant workers, but also supply families who are at home a new activity to try together. While not all companies can afford to make as generous strides currently, larger companies can look to this publishing house for inspiration as they try to understand the best ways to uplift communities that have been affected the most.