Today’s Summit F&B Listening Report:
Top News/F&B Headlines:
- The Labor Department report is likely to intensify the debate over when to lift restrictions that have helped fight the virus’s spread but placed the economy in a stranglehold. The grim economic toll from the coronavirus pandemic jumped on Thursday when the government reported another 4.4 million people filed new unemployment claims last week, bringing the five-week total to more than 26 million. The report is likely to intensify the debate over when to lift restrictions that have helped fight the virus’s spread but placed the economy in a stranglehold.
- Global markets tumbled for a sixth consecutive day on Thursday, dragging the S&P 500 down more than 10 percent in just over a week, reflecting rising fears over the coronavirus spreading quickly around the world. The benchmark index fell 4.4 percent on Thursday, the worst single-day slide for the market since August 2011. It is on pace for its worst weekly performance since the 2008 financial crisis. Stocks in Europe and Asia were also hard hit on Thursday.
- China said on Thursday that it would donate an additional $30 million to the World Health Organization after President Trump’s order this month to suspend American funding to the agency as he accused it of promoting “China’s misinformation” and “severely mismanaging” the spread of the coronavirus. That funding follows another donation of $20 million in March. U.S. donations to the organization have historically outstripped China’s: Of the $5.6 billion that the agency received in 2018 and 2019, the United States contributed about $893 million and China gave $86 million.
- After Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman called Wednesday for the swift reopening of hotels and casinos, many who earn their livelihoods in such establishments said they were afraid to return unless strict safety measures were introduced for themselves and guests. Although Goodman said the businesses should reopen, she provided no guidelines on how they should handle social distancing and other safety measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
- On Tuesday, Los Angeles County passed an interim urgency ordinance to address the health concerns of grocery, pharmacy, and food delivery workers during the coronavirus pandemic, requiring their employers to provide protective gear, like facial masks, gloves and hand sanitizer, or a stipend to purchase these supplies. The ordinance, which will be in effect until the California stay-at-home emergency order is lifted, stipulates that in addition to providing protective gear, delivery platforms must require their workers to wash their hands before handling food for a delivery.
- Bon Appetit’s channel on YouTube has seen its most successful months ever during the coronavirus pandemic, according to Matt Duckor, Condé Nast’s head of programming, lifestyle, and style. The channel saw 76.7 million views in March, the most successful month in the channel’s history, up 5 percent over February. And though the channel works six to eight weeks ahead and is still releasing new videos filmed in its massive Test Kitchen (the setting for most of its videos to date), the Bon Appétit team has scrambled to make videos that reflect the challenges most American chefs, amateur or professional, are facing right now — videos shot in the homes of the channel’s stars. So many of us are cooking from home, clearing out our pantries, and trying to figure out how to navigate occasional shortages in ingredients.
An emerging shortage of carbon dioxide gas (CO2) caused by the coronavirus pandemic may affect food supply chains and drinking water, a Washington state emergency planning document has revealed. The document, a Covid-19 situation report produced by the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC), contains a warning from the state’s office of drinking water (ODW) about difficulties in obtaining CO2, which is essential for the process of water treatment.
Consumer Search Behavior:
Today’s highest search centers around Ramadan, a Muslim holiday celebrated from April 23 to May 23. This year, due to coronavirus, this religious holiday will look a little different as authorities advised worshipers to pray at home.
F&B specific – Sage V Foods makes news as it decides to return the $3.4million PPP loan it received from the government. Also, due to several articles being released concerning food shortages around the coronavirus, searches have increased significantly. More information regarding food shortage concerns can be found in the Supply section of this report.
Heroes– who’s making the news for doing the right thing:
- Walmart, the Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer had committed to hiring more than 150,000 new associates by the end of May. It has had more than 1 million applicants, hiring an average of 5,000 people per day. On April 17, Walmart announced a new commitment to hire an additional 50,000 associates across its stores, clubs, fulfillment and distribution centers.
- The Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons Cos. has made a $50 million commitment to hunger relief across the 2,200-plus neighborhoods it serves in 34 states and the District of Columbia through its Nourishing Neighbors Community Relief campaign.
- Publix says it plans to help out farmers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. With many commercial food distributors canceling contracts as Americans stay home, farmers across the country have no one to buy their crops — leading to huge food waste. But Publix has pledged to buy excess fresh produce and milk from farmers and then donate the food to Feeding America. Publix, which has more than 1,000 grocery store locations in the southeast, is working to donate more than 150,000 pounds of produce and more than 43,500 gallons of milk to Feeding America food banks, according to a press release.
- Prior to the COVID-19 outbreaks, Loki the Rottweiler and her owner, Caroline Benzel, were familiar faces at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore. At the beginning of the outbreak, Benzel and Loki would use FaceTime conversations to offer some virtual comfort and relief to the staffers—but Benzel eventually found the inspiration for her new passion project after she noticed the physical toll that protective medical gear had on healthcare workers. Benzel and Loki took to the internet and started asking their social media followers for donations to make “hero healing kits” with hydrating skin lotion, boxes of tea, baby powder, chapstick, chewing gum, and moisturizer for healthcare workers. In just a few short weeks, the dynamic duo has used their Amazon Wishlist to raise thousands of dollars and collect hundreds of gift donations.
How are restaurants upholding consumer engagement, especially when delivery and takeout are the only current options? Ask Denny’s.
Denny’s, whose online social presence has been known to receive high engagement with its witty and relatable content, has created gaming profiles for itself on PS4, Xbox, and Switch under the alias Denny247. Through this initiative, the diner is giving codes and discounts to the people it connects with in gaming.
Denny’s is tapping into a large market, where it has been recorded that more than 164 million U.S. adults play video games with 75% of households having at least one gamer. While a restaurant making a push to the gaming world is not unheard of, (Wendy’s streamed itself playing FortNite on Twitch to launch BaconFest back in July 2019), it is another example of creative methods we’re seeing marketing teams deploy to keep consumers happy and engaged.