Coronavirus in Focus
- Researchers in the Netherlands have developed an affordable, self-administered COVID-19 test that utilizes the aluminum shell from used Nespresso pods as a heating vessel, reported Fast Company (April 7). Full Story
- A recent survey found that 43% of U.S. consumers are spending more on food. Grocery shoppers are feeling more confident as the nation starts to climb out of the pandemic, but elevated food pricing has them opting for value, reported Supermarket News (April 7). Full Story
- The U.S. craft beer sector experienced a 9% drop in production in 2020, with craft’s share of the overall beer market falling from 13.6% to 12.3%. However, the number of operating craft breweries continued to climb despite the pandemic, reaching an all-time high of 8,764, reported Forbes (April 7). Full Story.
- Fifty-two percent of convenience store owners expect travel and commuting to return to pre-pandemic levels this summer, according to a NACS Retailer Member Pulse Survey. Over half anticipate growth in immediate consumption of prepared foods and 42% project growth in cold beverages and coffee, reported CSNews (April 5). Full Story
- Fueled by pandemic-related demand, the price of ketchup packets is up 13% since January 2020, according to Plate IQ. Restaurants shifted from less expensive bottles to packets for safety concerns and it is costing them: Long John Silver’s LLC said it spent an extra half-million dollars for the shift, reported The Wall Street Journal (April 5). Full Story
- Manhattan’s restaurant scene seems to be returning to life. The trend is best seen in residential areas like the Upper West and Upper East sides, while areas dominated by office towers still face challenges, reported New York Post (April 5). Full Story
- California is targeting farm workers for vaccinations. The state is bringing clinics to where farmworkers live and work in an effort to protect a population disproportionately hit by the pandemic, reported CBS News (April 5). Full Story
- COVID-19 drove record at-home coffee consumption, with 85% of coffee drinkers having at least one cup at home, up 8% since January 2020 (April 1). Full Story
- The U.S. food retail sector has spent nearly $24 billion on pandemic-related costs, and a large majority of industry stakeholders expect sales and profits to decrease in 2021, according to research from FMI-The Food Industry Association, reported Supermarket News (March 31). Full Story
- About 54.6% of Michigan residents have eaten inside a restaurant since the state ended its dine-in ban Feb. 1, according to a study conducted by the Marketing Resource Group and sponsored by the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association, reported MLive.com (March 30). Full Story
- The global poultry industry outlook is improving but several challenges remain, according to Rabobank’s latest review. Along with very high and volatile feed prices, the industry is also dealing with pandemic-related market disruptions and avian influenza in the northern hemisphere, reported feednavigator.com. (March 30). Full Story
- Four Canadian fish processing companies were awarded a total of $1.5 million in federal COVID relief funding for equipment to comply with pandemic safety measures, to pay expenses, and to invest in securing talent, reported CBC. (April 7). Full Story
- Florida will prohibit businesses from requiring COVID-19 vaccination evidence to gain access or service following an executive order from Gov. Ron DeSantis. DeSantis noted he would push the state’s legislature to add the policy into Florida law, reported Miami Herald (April 4). Full Story
- JBS has been ordered to pay a $3.6 million fine following a COVID-19 outbreak at a Brazilian beef plant, according to a court ruling seen by Reuters, reported foodbev.com (March 22). Full Story
- A new variant of African swine fever in China could alter U.S. pork export numbers. Analysts note that new disease outbreaks often trigger increases in hog slaughter as producers try to get pigs to market ahead of disease spread, reported Porkbusiness.com (March 15). Full Story
- France increased its consumption of cheese during the pandemic, but it wasn’t a French variety that took the top billing. Italian-type mozzarella sales skyrocketed by 21.2% in the nation, while raclette sales were up 12.2% and Emmental sales rose 7.8%, reported Forbes (March 15). Full Story
For the latest economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, look to the expertise of the Food Institute. Monthly analysis of CPI, PPI, retail, and foodservice data is available to Food Institute members in our Economic Benchmarking portal.
Click here to see state-by-state data on COVID-19 vaccinations in the United States (source: CDC and Our World in Data)
- Wisconsin is set to lose over $50 million a month in federal emergency food benefits because the state’s supreme court struck down the governor’s COVID-19 emergency order, reported St. Louis Post-Dispatch. (April 8). Full Story
- New Jersey allowed retailers to reopen self-serve food stations, such as buffets and salad bars, but restaurants and casinos cannot reopen their buffets, reported NJ.com (April 7). Full Story
- California plans to lift most pandemic-related restrictions on June 15. Although a statewide mask mandate will remain, Governor Gavin Newsom said capacity limits for businesses and recreational activities will be lifted provided vaccination and infection rates trend in a positive direction, reported CBS News (April 7). Full Story
- The USDA is accepting a third round of applications for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program in an ongoing effort to help producers weather the pandemic. Coined CFAP 2, the application process will be open for at least 60 days and assistance will range from $20,000 to $99,999 for a duration of six months to one year, reported Forbes (April 7). Full Story.
- Amid mounting criticism that OSHA hasn’t done enough to protect American workers from COVID-19 hazards, the Biden administration appears set to increase enforcement efforts. The move comes after the U.S. Office of the Inspector General issued a report stating that “there is an increased risk that OSHA is not providing the level of protection that workers need at various job sites,” reported Law.com (April 4). Full Story
- Florida will prohibit businesses from requiring COVID-19 vaccination evidence to gain access or service following an executive order from Gov. Ron DeSantis. DeSantis noted he would push the state’s legislature to add the policy into Florida law, reported Miami Herald (April 2). Full Story
- There were about 719,000 seasonally adjusted initial unemployment claims for the week ending March 28, up 61,000 from the prior week’s revised level, according to the Department of Labor (April 1). Full Report
- The U.S. and Canada agreed on protocols to guide bilateral trade if African swine fever is detected in wild pigs. The countries agreed to use a science-based approach to minimize trade impacts while protecting the swine populations in both countries (March 15). Full Story
- Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, a virus closely related to the SARS virus.
- People who are infected may have few symptoms or develop fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
- Cases can progress to pneumonia and multi-organ failure.
What You Should Watch Out For:
- Symptoms: CDC reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease. Fever, cough, and shortness of breath have been reported two to 14 days after exposure.
- Prevention: CDC says the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. CDC recommends everyone wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public.
- Testing: Please check with your healthcare provider for testing availability. More info: HHS.gov
- Vaccines: To stay update with vaccine distribution: HHS.gov. Also check with your state/local sites and your primary provider. To see the latest state-by-state data on COVID-19 vaccinations.
- If You Are a Parent: Schools can play an important role in the effort to combat coronavirus and can prepare to take steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19. For schools in the midst of a community outbreak of COVID-19, temporarily dismissing childcare programs and K-12 schools is a strategy to stop or slow the further spread of COVID-19 in communities.
- If You Are Elderly: Much like the seasonal flu, older adults and those with chronic health conditions are at higher risk of being impacted by the coronavirus in the event it does spread. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) urged nursing homes to keep abreast of CDC updates on coronavirus.
- Johns Hopkins University Global Coronavirus COVID-19 Cases Tracker
- CDC: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Summary
- WHO: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak
- COVID Travel restrictions around the world
- Department of Labor: Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19
- Department of Labor: Guidance On Unemployment Insurance Flexibilities During COVID-19 Outbreak
- International Foodservice Distributors Association: Coronavirus Information and Resources for Businesses
- National Restaurant Association: Coronavirus Information and Resources
- OSHA: COVID-19