MOBILE SLAUGHTERHOUSE IN WORKS
AUSTIN, Texas — Whole Foods Market has been working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop a fleet of mobile slaughterhouses for chickens, as part of the company's broader efforts to expand its local sourcing of meat, according to a report in Grist Magazine. The program will begin with a single unit to serve small farmers in Massachusetts, Connecticut and the Hudson Valley, N.Y., area, and will have a dedicated USDA inspector on board to comply with state and federal regulations for meat inspection and processing. Noting that most regions of the country have “lots of agriculture but nowhere to process,” Whole Foods head meat buyer Theo Weening told Grist that he developed the project due to the difficulties small producers have getting their chickens processed at large slaughterhouses.
FOODSERVICE SLOW THROUGH MID-2010
CHICAGO — The U.S. restaurant industry had a year it would rather forget in 2009, and relief may not be coming until the summer of 2010, according to data and analysis from the NPD Group here. In a recent report, NPD's Consumer Reports on Eating Share Trends database revealed that total restaurant industry traffic declined by 3.6% during the summer quarter in 2009, marking the fourth consecutive quarter of declines vs. the same period a year earlier. The declines were spread across all segments and dayparts, with quick-service restaurant traffic down 3%, casual dining traffic down 4% and midscale restaurant traffic down 5%. The supper daypart declined 6%, lunch visits were down 4% and morning meal traffic fell 2%. Analysts attributed the declines to high unemployment and the growing difference between prices at restaurants and prices for food purchased at retail. “Foodservice traffic will remain weak throughout the third and fourth quarters of 2009, and we don't expect traffic growth until the second half of 2010,” Bonnie Riggs, restaurant industry analyst at NPD, said in a release.
DOLE RANKS TOP SALAD MARKETS
MONTEREY, Calif. — Dole Fresh Vegetables here has released the top-line results of a privately funded, 18-month study of the in-store buying habits and in-store consumption trends of prepackaged salad consumers, using the data to rank the top U.S. cities by per-capita consumption, consumption potential and consumer willingness to try new blends. In alphabetical order, the cities are Albany-Schenectady, N.Y.; Buffalo, N.Y.; Cincinnati; Columbus, Ohio; Dallas; Denver; Detroit; Flint-Saginaw, Mich.; Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo, Mich.; Hartford-New Haven, Conn.; Houston; Indianapolis; Kansas City, Mo.; Lansing, Mich.; Los Angeles; Louisville, Ky.; New York; Phoenix; Richmond-Petersburg, Va.; Salt Lake City; and Wichita-Hutchinson, Kan. “Despite their reputation as meat-eating capitals, many of the cities on our list qualify as sophisticated salad markets,” said Russell Evans, senior brand manager for Dole Fresh Vegetables. Evans added that consumers in these cities are more inclined to use salad “as a meal or as the basis for creative new lunch and dinner entrees.”
GREENMARKET FOOD STAMPS DOUBLE
NEW YORK — Use of handheld Electronic Benefit Transfer scanners, along with a city-sponsored incentive program, helped double food stamp spending at New York City farmers' markets this year to more than $226,000, compared with $100,000 in 2008. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn led efforts to place EBT scanners at 23 of the city's greenmarkets this summer, and the city's Department of Health helped build awareness of the program by offering food stamp recipients $2 food vouchers for every $5 spent at a greenmarket.