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Industry Round-Up: August 21

1. US Foods Program to Help Restaurant Operators Build Revenue with Ghost Kitchens

Foodservice distributor US Foods is launching a new US Foods Ghost Kitchens program, designed to help restaurant operators find new revenue streams by walking them through opening their own ghost kitchen operations. Ghost kitchens, which offer professional kitchen facilities for the exclusive purpose of delivery or take-out services, are a growing market and may offer relief to restaurants struggling amid closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The US Foods program will offer resources and consultation to quickly get these kitchens off the ground.

Read more on The Produce News here: US Foods Ghost Kitchens program creates new revenue stream for operators  

2. Packaging Industry Meets Fluctuating Demands of Pandemic

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, much of the food industry was abandoning single-use packaging in favor of more sustainable alternatives, but virus-related safety concerns revived single-use packaging as a matter of urgency. As packaging needs have evolved throughout the pandemic, packaging manufacturers have adjusted sizing and materials as needed. The results so far: decreased use of reusable grocery bags, the rerouting of items previously sold in bulk, and increases in take-out and delivery options among foodservice operators. 

Read more on The Packer here: Pandemic forces innovation in packaging field 

3. California Crops Vulnerable to Weather, Wildfire

A heat wave in California is feeding dozens of wildfires this week, contributing to the smoke and ash covering much of the state. The fires, many sparked by lightning, threaten agricultural areas, including Napa and Salinas, and response resources are spread thin because of shortages due to COVID-19. The smoke from the wildfires, along with the heat wave which has pushed inland temperatures above 100 degrees on more than 10 days in August, presents significant complications for workers harvesting crops and causes damage to some fruits and vulnerable crops.

Read more on Western FarmPress here: Heat, wildfires threaten California crops 

4. Corrugate Clamshells Latest in Cal Giant Sustainability Measures

California Giant Berry Farms is rolling out the use of new corrugate clamshells for packaging its blueberries and strawberries, seeking to increase sustainability by using less plastic. The company, which sees sustainability as a crucial part of giving back to its community, has previously implemented other packaging changes, including reducing the amount of corrugate used in berry trays to just what is structurally essential, reducing the amount of plastic used in clamshells, and using recycled materials. 

Read more on The Packer here: For Cal Giant, ‘giving back’ includes growing sustainably 

5. New Realities for University Dining

Like restaurants, university dining halls are making big adjustments to protect against COVID-19, implementing new sanitizing protocols and rearranging space to allow for social distancing. Dining halls have generally been built to accommodate hundreds of students at once, with crowded lines and buffet stations, but attention will now turn to quick, efficient meals to give staff time to sanitize between groups. Many university dining centers will move to grab-and-go options or prepackaged products that students can take with them. Some universities are even partnering with technology systems like OpenTable to coordinate students’ food pick-up times. 

Read more on CNN here: College dining will look completely different this fall 


Interested in more industry news? Check back on the iTrade blog as we publish our takes on the most important stories in the food and beverage industry every week. 

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