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Tag Archives: Food & Beverage

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Stores prepare for the next wave of panic buying

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Every holiday season, stores ramp up their inventories as shoppers add more items to their lists. This year, that includes more than stocking up for holiday shopping. Stores are also preparing to stock up for panic buying that the next wave of COVID-19 may bring.

According to Cornell professor Edward McLaughlin, retailers and food suppliers were caught off guard by pandemic-driven panic buying in March. But they have learned key lessons from that experience and are now sending staple goods to grocery stores even before orders pour in.

Food companies are putting previous demand models aside and simply sending paper products, beans, pasta, and holiday items to stores ahead of the rush. McLaughlin advised stores to stock up on essentials rather than focusing on the usual fancy holiday items.

What to expect this holiday season?

Experts say that when we panic, we feel out of control and tend to buy stuff that we need in our daily lives to regain some control. Heading into fall and winter, it seems stores have prepared ahead of time. Shelf-stable food and medications, cleaning supplies, hand sanitizers, and air purifiers may not be your typical holiday buying choices, but they will be in demand this holiday season.

There is a good chance that shoppers will start piling up on their holiday gifts early this year. Stores have to anticipate these demand waves to avoid delays and possibly inventory issues.

How are retailers preparing?

The Wall Street Journal reported that companies like Associated Food Stores are creating special “pandemic pallets.” They ensure that cleaning and sanitizing products are readily available in warehouses ahead of the high demand. Like them, most grocery stores big and small, are beefing up their inventory ahead of the holidays. They are now storing 10% to 15% more stock than before the pandemic to ensure they won’t run out of fast-selling items.

Retailers like Iowa-based Hy-Vee are already stockpiling additional sanitizing, cleaning, and paper products when possible, though full variety hasn’t returned.

Brands like Campbell’s Soup stated that they are only about 50% done with their total inventory recovery since the pandemic hit. Ahead of the winter season, the iconic brand is stocking up on high-demand soup brands as well as popular snacks.

To stay ahead of panic buying, stores need to carry a wide range of groceries with reasonable pricing. They need to determine how much capacity they can generate and push above that. The challenge is to avoid out-of-stocks and carry the maximum number of products with a minimum amount of space for each. At the same time, they must avoid loading up on costly inventory despite holiday season demands.

Old-school predictive modeling

Walmart also acknowledged that it is still playing catch-up from the pandemic’s impact on inventory. Stores like Walmart and Kroger have relied on computer models and machine learning to manage their inventory and operation. But the pandemic has thrown that off track.

Demand forecasting, “just-in-time” inventory, and predictive modeling were all designed without the pandemic in mind. The data fed into these systems could not factor in people’s unusual buying patterns during the pandemic.

Therefore, retailers are going old school. They are relying on age-old human intuition and gut feelings. They will be looking back at the last six months to anticipate what kind of panic buying can happen the second time around. They will stock up based on their conclusions rather than machine feedback.

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Gallup poll: Farming, agriculture receive highest marks from consumers among all industries

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Politicians, media professionals and lawyers could learn a thing or two about brand management from their counterparts in the farming and agricultural industries. It turns out Americans have the most favorable view of the profession, a recent Gallup poll shows. It’s the first time those working the fields and farms have received such high marks in more than two decades of Gallup conducting a poll that registers Americans’ views of various business and industry sectors.

In its survey of Americans’ views of business and industry, Gallup reports that 69% of respondents said they have a favorable opinion of farming and agriculture.

Next on the list are the grocery (63%), restaurant (61%), and IT (56%) industries. Surprisingly, given COVID-19 and the industrial response to it this year, healthcare professionals are not closer to the top of the list. However, the sector did experience a massive increase, 13 points, marking the first time it received approval higher than 50%.

Retail, gas and electric, and healthcare were the only other sectors with approval over 50%.

Alas, those working in the federal government and sports were lowest on the list with approval just north of 30%. Advertising and public relations, the pharmaceutical industry, and the legal field were the next lowest on the list.

Gallup polled more than 1,000 U.S. adults.

“Every type of business and industry has been affected in some way by the coronavirus pandemic, including the economic challenges of reduced consumer demand; the financial expense of implementing increased health and safety measures; and the significant disruption that has occurred to supply chains for many products,” Gallup wrote.

Farming and agriculture improved 11% from the year before, beating out 25 other business and industry sectors, including the retail, internet, and travel industries. The sports industry fell 15% points from last year, now 23rd out of 25 industries.

In 2019, there were just about 2 million farms in the United States, but that number shows a long and steep decline in farms since 2007 when there were about 2.2 million farms in the United States.

According to Statista.com, the average size of farms in the United States was the smallest since 2000. Texas has the most farms, 248,000, as of 2018.

The United States has more than 2 million hectares of organic agricultural land as of 2017. It is the largest market for organic food worldwide. In 2016, the number of certified organic farms in the United States reached 14,185, up from about 12,800 farms in 2015.

Farming, one of the world’s oldest occupations, perseveres despite a pandemic, catastrophic weather and economic woes, and these professionals know the entire population counts on them. Given the challenges of 2020, consumers now recognize the importance of the food supply chain for their well-being.

This Gallup poll seems to show that.

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The impact of shrinkage in grocery stores and how to fight it

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According to industry surveys, retail shrink ranges from 1.7% to over 3% of total sales, with grocery stores operating on the highest end of that range according to FMI’s 2019 Food Industry Speaks study. Beyond direct inventory dollar costs, grocers also experience increased labor costs and lower customer satisfaction as a result of shrink.

The COVID-19 pandemic has delivered a temporary Band-Aid to grocers as the sales surge masks underlying root causes and symptoms. However, in time, the pandemic will pass, sales will decline towards the norm, and grocery shrink will rise north of 3% again, unless today’s profits are invested into preventative, long-term shrink savings strategies and technologies.

Shrink is a broad term, applying to both theft and operational causes of loss ranging from shoplifting and cashier/vendor theft to poor production planning and lack of rotation. While shrink from theft can be deterred, the largest gains come from focusing on the operations 100% within a store’s control. Let’s break down some of those operational opportunities — looking at the simple procedural changes needed and technology that can be leveraged to heighten results.

Prioritize SKU Rationalization

While sale doesn’t solve all shrink problems, it certainly is the MVP. In the 2020 FMI study Variety or Duplication, stores that made an effort to reduce variety by focusing on eliminating what consumers would view as duplicates led to an increase in sales ranging from 0.96%-1.62%, while 96% of shoppers surveyed noticed no change in assortment or in fact felt there were more items available than before.

Reducing SKUs on shelf has a double-positive effect on shrink. The increase in sales improves sell through, while less complex category sets make rotation easier for stocking crews. Think, did grocery stores have any issue rotating back in the good ol’ days when there was only one kind of ketchup on the shelf? Never.

Investments into computer generated ordering (CGO), shrink tracking software, and customer loyalty applications will arm category management to win at SKU rationalization.

Get Smart with Markdowns

There’s a well-accepted adage that “the first markdown is the best markdown.” That is, when discounting is used to drive sales on damaged, short-coded, or seasonal products, each consecutive markdown further erodes margin while driving additional labor costs.

Yet, what we’ve come to learn is that a dynamic markdown model can still be implemented in a one-markdown world. For example, store specific sales data per SKU can be leveraged when deciding whether or not, and by how much, to markdown short-coded inventory.

If getting SKU- and movement-specific with markdowns isn’t achievable, take time to experiment with how deep the markdown policy needs to be. Try out varying discount percentages, comparing the percentage of inventory sold and net sales. Findings need to differentiate the results by product categories and departments, as the optimal markdown for grocery or dairy products is likely vastly different than for OTC/vitamins.

Repurpose Shrink in Prepared Foods

Some of the most savvy and frugal grocery operators will tell you they have almost no expired or damaged shrink. Not because they never occur; they have built out a pipeline to turn this would-be loss into prepared foods ingredients.

Most product dating uses a Best If Used By date rather than a true expiration date. These Best If Used By dates serve as a worst-case timeline of diminished quality rather than a marker on food safety. Thus, using a dented can of tomato sauce on a take-and-bake pizza, or slicing up some bruised or irregular shaped apples into a caramel apple fluff, is perfect for this fall season.

Shrinkage has a huge impact on grocers — and, unfortunately, this issue is not uncommon. However, by implementing effective solutions, such as repurposing shrink, using optimal markdowns, and prioritizing SKU rationalization, grocery stores can decrease labor costs and sales loss while increasing customer satisfaction.

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Can the RESTAURANTS Act save the industry?

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The restaurant industry desperately needs help.

Its millions of employees are looking at the RESTAURANTS Act to help them get through the coronavirus pandemic’s economic devastation. Locally owned restaurants across America have joined forces with the Independent Restaurant Coalition (IRC) to lobby for Congress’ support on this legislation.

The RESTAURANTS Act

The name of the bill is an acronym for “Real Economic Support That Acknowledges Unique Restaurant Assistance Needed to Survive.” The coalition wants a bipartisan bill that’s being presented in both the House and the Senate. It’s going through Congress as House Resolution 7197 and Senate Resolution 4012.

The restaurant industry, as well as its tertiary industries, need this support to survive. The industry generates a $1 trillion annual boost to the United States’ economy. From farmers and fishermen to truck drivers and restaurant workers, it supports tens of millions of employees and their families.

The bill proposes a $120 billion forgivable grant program for restaurants, bars, pubs, and caterers to stay open through 2020. The money could cover payroll, mortgage, rent, utilities, and supplies, among other essentials.

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has mostly failed to meet the needs of independent bars and restaurants hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Already, small businesses are closing fast, which could have further devastating effects on supply chains and delivery chains. The RESTAURANTS Act could save the day.

There are conditions, however. It is focused on helping smaller establishments that bring in $1.5 million or less every year. The grant process is need-based instead of being an open grants system. This would provide a veritable checks-and-balances component and ensure that restaurants that need help most get it. Places that are publicly traded or a part of a big chain with 20 or more business locations under the same name will be exempt from the benefits.

The new economic relief program that the bill would bring will expand the eligibility of more businesses to access aid. Along with flexible access to funds and grants, it will also offer the hardest-hit businesses to get some loan forgiveness.

Though restaurants have tried to make the best of the situation, it has been challenging. Limited outdoor seating and takeout service isn’t enough to ride out the wave of uncertainty. In California alone, 900,000 restaurant workers have already lost their jobs.

The Independent Restaurant Coalition stated that 85% of independent restaurants might permanently close due to the COVID-19. This would mean that 16 million people will be out of jobs. It would lead to a domino effect on the entire economy. The group also stated that this would disproportionately impact people of color and single mothers.

It is imperative that Congress passes the bill quickly and averts this disaster.

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7 of America’s best beer gardens

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The beer garden (or biergarten to be linguistically accurate) is a traditional German outdoor pub that serves beer and eats at communal tables. American breweries and restaurants have added their own twist to this traditional and culturally significant gathering place.

Most U.S. beer gardens are of Bavarian heritage or influence, but beer-loving Bohemians from the Czech Republic and Slovakia have maintained a beer garden tradition of their own. Here are seven of the best beer gardens America has to offer.

Prost!, Portland, Oregon

In a city renowned for its mindboggling number and variety of craft breweries, Prost! stands out as Portland’s most authentic and convivial beer garden. Customers hang at large communal tables slugging down steins of Hofbrau, Bitburger and Spaten while snacking on pretzels, bratwurst, currywurst and braunschweiger,

www.prostportland.com, 503-954-2674

Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens, San Diego

Arguably America’s most elegant and elaborate beer garden, Stone Brewing’s multi-acre spread at Liberty Station is named after a U.S. Navy mess hall that once occupied the site.

Guests can wander the organic garden with its bocce ball court, fire pits and koi pond while sipping one of Stone Brewing’s more than 40 draft beers. Food here goes way beyond typical German pub fare, with such artisanal offerings as tuna tacos, grilled Brussels sprouts and manioc-flour cheese bread.

www.stonebrewing.com, 619-269-2100

The Biergarten at the Standard, Los Angeles

Downtown L.A. might not seem the place for a beer garden, but low and behold, there’s one — complete with wurst, pretzels and dirndl-dressed Bavarian biermaids — perched atop the Standard Hotel at 550 S. Flower Street. The rooftop terrace at the hip, modernist Standard is decked out with a pool, bar, waterbed pods, fire pits and sculptured topiaries. A live DJ is usually on hand in the evenings.

www.standardhotels.com, 213-892-8080

Lowry Beer Garden, Denver

Colorado is justly famous for its craft beers, and Lowry’s 9,000 square-foot covered outdoor pavilion is one of the liveliest spots in Denver to give these Rocky Mountain brews a try. Guests gather round huge Oktoberfest-style communal tables (with appropriate social distancing) to partake of their favorite bier, wine or cocktail while nibbling on gourmet brats and freshly baked pretzels. Regulars recommend the elk jalapeno-cheddar brat.

www.lowrybeergarden.com, 303-366-0114

Bay Street Biergarten, Charleston, South Carolina

Housed in a restored Civil War railroad depot, this beer garden oozes atmosphere and character to offer the best elements of a traditional biergarten combined with the unique flavors of the American South. The focus here is on craft beers and contemporary Bavarian-Southern fusion food, including brats, spaetzle, schnitzel, smoked bier wings and Carolina pork sliders. Nightly events include cornhole tournaments, live bands and trivia nights.

www.baystreetbiergarten.com, 843-266-2437

Garden District Beer Garden, Washington, D.C.

Here’s a hopping biergarten, situated at the corner of 14th and S Streets in the nation’s capital, offering a friendly, casual backyard barbecue vibe. And it is, in fact, highly regarded for its “cue,” which includes a variety of smoked and grilled plates and sandwiches.

Popular on weekends is Garden District’s own brined-and-smoked chicken wings. There’s a broad selection of German Hofbrau beers and regional craft brews — served on draft, canned, bottled, and in 32- and 64-ounce growlers.

www.gardendistrictdc.com, 202-695-2626

Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden, Queens, New York

With roots going back to the early 20th century, Bohemian Hall has been keeping the Czech and Slovak beer garden tradition alive in the immigrant-rich borough of Queens for many generations. It’s the largest biergarten in New York City and it serves up traditional Czech favorites like goulash and fried cheese (smazak) along with a couple of dozen German, American and classic Czech beers like Krusovice and Staropramen on draft.

www.bohemianhall.com, 718-274-4925

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Safe or risky? Indoor dining during the COVID-19 pandemic

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Some states have opened their restaurants, despite warnings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), claiming that open-air dining has barely proved sustaining. In 2015, food and drink sales in the U.S. restaurant industry reached $745.61 billion with 19 million people having visited a full-service restaurant and over 49 million people having visited a quick service restaurant in 2016. Most restaurants are desperate to host diners indoors again, especially with cold weather looming.

Previously, there was no evidence to suggest that coronavirus disease 2019 ( COVID-19) was spread by handling or eating food. But that has changed with researchers’ claim that community and close contact exposures continue to fuel the spread of the virus.

The CDC now suggests that dining out increases risk of contracting coronavirus more than other activities, citing the fact that masks are not used while people are eating and drinking. In fact, a recent CDC study found that people who tested positive for the coronavirus were twice as likely to have eaten at a restaurant beforehand.

A new study from the CDC found that people who tested positive for COVID-19 were twice as likely to have reported dining out in the 14 days before their diagnosis than those who tested negative.

The researchers collected data during the month of July across 10 states from 314 adults with coronavirus symptoms. The participants lived in states with differing reopening guidelines, including California, Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Utah, and Washington. About half of them (154) tested positive for the virus.

Participants were asked about possible community exposure in the two weeks leading up to their test, including whether they recently dined at a restaurant, worked at an office, went shopping, went to the gym, attended a church gathering, or used public transportation frequently. They also had to rate how well they followed social-distancing measures at the location of each activity.

Researchers found that 42% of those who tested positive said they had close contact with at least one person with COVID-19, most of whom (51%) were family members, two weeks before their test. A lower proportion (14%) of the participants who tested negative reported having close contact with a person with known COVID-19 in the two-week period before their test.

About 71% of the those who tested positive, and 74% of those who tested negative, said they always wore a face covering while in public in the two weeks before their test, although the type of mask was not specified. In addition to dining at a restaurant, participants were more likely to have gone to a bar or coffee shop but only when the analysis was restricted to participants without close contact with persons with known COVID-19 before illness onset.

Experts have previously warned that air circulation in indoor spaces and gatherings, such as restaurants, could affect virus transmission. However, participants did not have to specify whether they ate indoors or outdoors while dining out, suggesting that more research is needed to establish whether the findings would be similar to a larger group of people.

The CDC guidelines currently recommend that takeout, drive-thru facilities, or delivery services pose the lowest risk of contracting the coronavirus from a restaurant, while the highest risk would be offering indoor and outdoor dining where tables are neither reduced nor spaced at least 6 feet apart.

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8 of America’s favorite, authentic diners

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Like baseball, grandma’s apple pie and Elvis, a shiny bullet-shaped diner surely plucks the strings of American nostalgia. For nearly a century, hungry travelers have relied on the classic American diner for fast, affordable comfort food.

“As a uniquely American creation, diners are and always will be a melting pot of good food and good people,” says Richard Gutman, author of “American Diner Then & Now.”

In his book, Gutman identifies 35 companies that manufactured diners (also called dining cars or lunch cars) from the early 1900s onward. Most are similar in design to railway dining cars and the majority of them were built in the northeastern U.S.

Nearly 10,000 diners were factory-built, and they peaked in popularity between the 1920s and 1950s. Only a few dozen authentic examples remain in operation today.

Five companies led the pack in turning out prefabricated diners. The top manufacturer was the Jerry O’Mahony Diner Co. of Elizabeth, New Jersey, a firm that produced more than 2,000 diners between 1917 and1941.

Worcester Lunch Car Co. of Worcester, Massachusetts, was another leading manufacturer, producing about 700 diners from 1906 to 1942. Other important manufacturers included Fodero Dining Car Co. of Bloomfield, New Jersey; Silk City Diners of Patterson, New Jersey; and Sterling Diners of Merrimac, Massachusetts.

We’ve tracked down living examples from each of these makers — eight of them in total — and should your travels take you anywhere close by, we encourage you to go retro and give a diner a try.

Twede’s Café, North Bend, Washington

Washington’s Snoqualmie Valley gained fame as the setting for the TV series “Twin Peaks,” where some of the action centered on a rustic family-owned café noted for its “cherry pie and a damn fine cup of coffee.” Although it’s designed to look like one, Twede’s is not a classic diner. But it sure acts like one, serving up its bountiful Big Breakfasts and Home-style Dinners, plus, of course, that “cherry pie and a damn fine cup of coffee.”

www.twedescafe.com, 425-831-5571

Road Island Diner, Oakley, Utah

This Streamline Moderne diner from Jerry O’Mahony Diner Co. is one of the most well-traveled diners in the nation. It was built in 1939 to serve as an exhibit in the New York World’s Fair. Following the fair, it saw duty in Massachusetts and Rhode Island until 2007 when it was purchased by a Utah businessman and moved to the Utah mountain town of Oakley, near Park City.

It holds the distinction of being the first authentic prewar streamline diner west of the Mississippi River. Breakfast specials include omelets, frittatas, biscuits and gravy, corned beef hash and chorizo, while popular dinner plates include roasted lamb sandwiches and house-made mac and cheese.

www.roadislanddiner.com, 435-783-3467

The Oasis Diner, Plainfield, Indiana

Following its manufacture in 1953 by Mountain View Diners in Signac, New Jersey, this 60-foot-long diner was shipped by train to Plainfield where it was operated by a progression of owners until 2008. It was rescued from tear-down a couple of years later by a pair of local residents who undertook a three-year restoration of the diner and relocated and reopened it in Plainfield’s recently revitalized Town Center.

It’s justly famous for its breakfasts, especially the steak and egg skillet, biscuits and gravy and country-fried tenderloin. Popular dinner dishes include the Philly cheese steak sandwich, catfish tacos and a roster of six different kinds of burgers. If there’s any room left, the Oasis offers a dozen kinds of pie — including sweet potato and rhubarb.

www.oasisdiner.com, 317-837-7777

Mickey’s Diner, St. Paul, Minnesota

St. Paul’s Art Deco landmark (a 1937 Jerry O’Mahony model) boasts a long list of media credits, including appearances on the Food Network series “Unwrapped,” “Roker on the Road” and Rachel Ray’s “Tasty Travels.” It has been seen on the pages of Smithsonian and National Geographic magazines and it is listed the National Register of Historic Places.

Family-owned and operated for three generations, Mickey’s has remained open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year since it debuted in 1939. That is until just recently, when owners decided to take advantage of the pandemic-related slowdown to close temporarily for some extended maintenance.

They will soon be back to serve up specials from their four-page menu Streamline Moderne an appetizing roster of burgers, patty melts, fish and chips, mulligan stew, bean soup and old-fashioned hand-dipped malts and shakes.

651-222-5633

Summit Diner, Summit, New Jersey

Situated across the street from the train station in Summit, this 1939 diner from Jerry O’Mahony is a favorite with commuters and is patronized by some of New Jersey’s power elite. Jim Cramer, the ranting and raving stock market guy on CNBC, and former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine are reported regulars.

Original menus hang framed on the walls, and a black marble bar supports the elbows of patrons seated on 24 red leather stools facing the grill. Favorite dishes here include corned beef hash, spanakopita (Greek spinach pie) and grilled salmon over greens. Greek-style pastries lead a lineup of killer desserts.

908-277-3256

Wilson’s Diner, Waltham, Massachusetts

Built in 1949 by the Worcester Lunch Car Co. and now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Wilson’s played a bit part in the 2013 movie “Labor Day.”

In everyday life, however, it serves as a no-nonsense source for a well-priced breakfast or lunch. The breakfast menu features such dishes as walnut, blueberry or chocolate chip pancakes, crunchy caramel French toast and a huge variety of egg-based meals including eight varieties of eggs Benedict and 20 different kinds of omelets.

781-899-0760

The Empire Diner, New York City

This 1946 Fodero diner nestled in Manhattan’s West Chelsea has retained its original Streamline Moderne exterior — but the interior has been transformed into a slick upscale retro restaurant. Chef John De Lucie delivers straightforward American classics, including juicy burgers and crunchy fries, but he also cooks up some more sophisticated fare including crispy artichokes with aioli, bucatini, potato rosti with chives and prime hanger steak.

www.empire-diner.com, 212-355-2277

The Blue Benn, Bennington, Vermont

History is ever-present as you tie into an oversized platter of blueberry pancakes at this beautifully preserved diner fabricated by Silk City Diners of Patterson, New Jersey. A permanent fixture and a local dining favorite in Bennington since 1948, the Blue Benn is currently closed as new owners prepare for reopening — hopefully sometime this year. Some of the diner’s headline dishes, including spinach pesto omelets, turkey pot pie and homemade tapioca pudding, will undoubtedly make a return.

802-442-5140

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Minimizing waste that occurs in most industry filling equipment

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Industry waste is abundant, and it grows every year, as most industry filling equipment produces some waste. Minimizing waste with most industry filling equipment is a fantastic way to cut down on potential waste management costs, streamline efficiency, and improve overall workflow.

Industry filling equipment and machines, at times, produce much more waste than they actually should. It can be caused by many issues and can wind up costing quite a lot of money.

Below, we’re going to discuss industry filling equipment waste, how it occurs, why it occurs, and how we can reduce waste efficiently and cost-effectively.

Product Waste and System Loss

Industry filling equipment doesn’t waste useless materials — it wastes products. Products are expensive, and minimizing loss is going to improve cost-efficiency. And the main culprit behind product loss is industry filling equipment efficiency.

Over time, the gaskets, seals, and performance of such equipment degrade, thus directly causing some product waste. A good way to counteract this is through regular equipment maintenance.

If one of the machines on the line seems to be wasting more product than usual, that’s a good sign that it’s due for maintenance. Most machines require regular maintenance at preset service intervals, and exceeding them could significantly augment product losses.

Measuring manufacturing productivity is the main way to cut down on system losses. It’s measured through the Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) standard, which reassesses the productive percentage of manufacturing.

Timely, superbly productive, and nonstop service would yield a 100% OEE rating, which ensures minimal system losses and overall waste of product. Depending on the type of industry filling equipment, the loss is going to vary in type, abundance, and overall waste management.

What Are Typical Industry Norms and How They Can Be Improved?

The filling equipment varies in purpose, but it’s most often used for food products. The equipment must be made out of 316 food-grade stainless steel, carry a 3A sanitary certification, or even better standards such as USDA approval.

Depending on the product, the certifications and requirements of the filling equipment are going to vary. At the same time, proper sanitation might have a significant impact in reducing possible waste, a far more important role in maintaining the filling equipment itself.

Filling equipment must be properly cleaned and maintained to maintain production standards. Improper maintenance and cleaning are going to ensure more waste, resulting in less cost-effective operation, and increased waste management costs.

If the filling machine deals with liquids, it must have adequate watertight protection. All the electronics and sensors are susceptible to corrosion and wear, so maintaining a watertight seal is essential for their maintenance. All industry filling equipment requires frequent cleaning with water and caustic chemicals, meaning that all electronics must be protected at all times.

While the industry norms are relatively good, going a step further is always advised.

You can ensure that everything is running smoothly by servicing your machines more frequently, measuring their performance, and following cleaning regulations. Maintenance is key when you’re trying to minimize product and system waste.

How Can Blending Help Reduce Waste

The world of industry filling has far surpassed large batching systems. By using state-of-the-art, continuous stream blending, you can rest assured you’re minimizing waste, saving money, and improving workflow efficiency.

Through the use of Continuous Stream Blending (CSB), you can eliminate large volume holding tanks and transfer time, and work with much smaller process system volumes. That allows for faster product compounding and product changeover — and quick switching between lower and larger volume products.

CSB utilizes automation, thus providing far more electronic control over the product formulation process. Through this technology, multi-layer verification becomes possible and allows for more precise statistical process control.

It allows for far more consistency, simplified system cleaning, and faster preparation/packaging. It also does wonders to reduce system loss, product waste, and component waste. Aside from standard liquid CSB, it’s applicable in all industries with filler equipment, such as:

  • Petroleum & Gasoline
  • Chemical & Pharmaceutical
  • Biotech & Genetech
  • Food & Drink
  • Paint & Pigment
  • Personal Care & Cosmetics

The utilization of CSB is essential to reducing costs, waste, and streamlining filling equipment efficiency and performance.

Final Thoughts

The waste that occurs in most industry filling equipment accounts for quite a lot of added costs. Waste management is not cheap, and improperly disposing of it is illegal. That’s why cutting down on waste as much as possible is essential. A fantastic way to do so is through the utilization of state-of-the-art CSB technology, proper maintenance, and improving upon existing regulation and industry norms.

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Fruit and veggie powders gain traction for consumers, companies

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A diet rich in fruits and vegetables is one of the best ways to stay out of the doctor’s office. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that adults consume approximately five fruits and vegetables per day.

In reality, the average adult eats about half the recommended amount. However, the tide is turning. Rising interest in optimal health is driving demand for convenient and nutritious ways to close the gap on 5-A-Day, and companies are taking note.

Growth and Projections for the Fruit and Vegetable Powder Market

According to the Fruit and Vegetable Powder Market 2020 Global Industry Report, the fruit and vegetable powder market is expected to rise significantly between 2020 and 2025. Ingredients Network, a digital platform that sources natural ingredients, predicts that the fruit and vegetable powder market will reach $216 billion in revenue within two years. It expects the annual growth rate of the market to be approximately 5.8%.

Currently, the market is growing at a steady pace with the potential to surpass projections. The Fruit and Vegetable Powder Market 2020 Report provides an overview of the industry and an analysis of international markets with information on development, competition, manufacturing processes, and cost structures. The final report is expected to include a review of COVID-19’s impact on the industry. A detailed copy of the report is available for purchase at ResearchReportsWorld.com.

What’s Driving the Increase in Demand for Fruit and Vegetable Powders?

Rising interest in health and wellness is one reason behind the demand for fruit and vegetable powders. People realize that diet is responsible for a large proportion of health problems, and they are more aware of how essential fruits and vegetables are in a healthy diet.

Fruit and vegetable powders appeal to these consumers because they offer protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals in a convenient form. It is easy to combine a fruit and vegetable powder mix with a smoothie, almond milk, or water. The fact that these products are shelf-stable makes them even more attractive because consumers don’t have to worry about them going bad right away.

The Value Add of “People and Planet Friendly”

Younger companies are capitalizing on the demand for convenient yet nutritious ways to meet fruit and vegetable recommendations, and they are marketing themselves intelligently.

Consumers don’t often realize that powdered fruits and vegetables are one way to reduce waste and greenhouse gas emissions. Kencko, a powdered fruit and vegetable company, is raising awareness about the benefits of powdered mixes for people and planet.

According to their website, “a plant-rich diet is the key to a healthy future for people and planet.” Their website explains that “every year, up to 50% of the fruits and vegetables we grow are wasted, resulting in more greenhouse gas emissions than most countries. By capturing all the nutrients of fresh produce in a shelf-stable product, Kencko puts fruits and veggies on standby until you need them.” Powdered fruit and vegetable mixes offer “maximum nutrition, [and] minimal waste.”

Value Add, Not Compromise

However, a word of caution for companies capitalizing on the popularity of fruit and vegetable powders — consumers are not willing to forsake health for convenience. They want products that conveniently improve their health.

Powders must, therefore, be both nutritious and easy to use. Companies that focus on manufacturing processes that preserve “all of the good stuff” in fresh produce will pull ahead in the race. Transparency and corporate social responsibility are also likely to confer a definite advantage.

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New Economic Policy Institute report looks at the effects of COVID-19 on Latinx workers

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COVID-19 has revealed the economic and health crises facing Latinx workers. The stark details are in a new report from the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, D.C.

According to the report authors — director of EPI’s program on race, ethnicity, and the economy, Valerie Wilson; senior economist Elise Gould; and research assistant Daniel Perez — the distress of Latinx workers exceeds that of their white counterparts. “Despite the seemingly universal reach of the pandemic, COVID-19 has been far from ‘the great equalizer’ as some have proclaimed,” said Wilson in a statement.

In the 35-44 age group, for example, Latinx workers are nearly nine times as likely to die from COVID-19 as whites are. In a similar social indicator, two-thirds of white workers can earn employer-paid sick days versus 45.9% of Latinx workers with the same benefit.

Latinx workers are three times as likely as whites to lack employer-based health insurance are. In the COVID-19 moment, this elevates the risk of the pandemic’s transmission.

Large parts of the economy shut down in mid-March to shelter in place and slow the spread of COVID-19. However, that policy hit the labor force unevenly.

Working at home for the professional-managerial class is one thing. Such an arrangement is a different kettle of fish for other worker categories.

“As a group, Latinx workers face a double bind,” according to the EPI report. “They are the least likely to be able to work from home to avoid coronavirus exposure and the most likely to have lost their job during the COVID-19 recession.”

Hourly income for Latinx workers is $0.75 for every $1.00 a white man earns. The gap between Latina workers and white males is bigger, $0.64 hourly compared with $1.00.

“The deprivations faced by the Latinx population, like other marginalized populations, creates predictable patterns of harm from health hazards such as COVID-19,” said Rhonda Rios Kravitz, dean emerita at Sacramento City College and member of Alianza, an immigration reform advocacy group, via email.

The EPI researchers hold that the Trump administration has worsened economic and health disparities for Latinx workers during COVID-19. Two examples are “mandating meatpacking industries to reopen and excluding undocumented Latinx workers from unemployment insurance benefits and stimulus payments,” according to the EPI report.

Relative to the latter, stimulus payments to Latinx workers without documents are a loss to the businesses they frequent. This demand shock disproportionately hits small businesses struggling to survive.

David Bacon is an author and journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. “The dangerous situation of these workers is a product of the immense obstacles they face in organizing unions or collective action to protect themselves at work,” he told MultiBriefs in an email.

Disasters such as COVID-19, as Hurricane Katrina showed 15 years ago in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, reveal preexisting class and race divisions.

“Latinx households were economically insecure and suffered inequitable access to health care well before the coronavirus pandemic tore through the United States,” according to EPI’s Perez. “The effects of COVID-19 on the economic and physical well-being of Latinx Americans were sadly predictable — but no less devastating.”

The United Farm Workers declined a request to comment.

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