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Industry Roundup: Food Waste, Government, and Business

We are still monitoring food news across the industry, including on going Covid-19 news. This week Plates takes a quick look at topics such as food waste, local food systems, food co-ops, and alternative proteins that fuel the future of industry. Plates will always be committed to is the focus on diverse perspectives in food.

Please read some these important food news articles and join us for our second episode of Around the Table: A Passionate Discussion About Food Hosted by Plates. We will have our ATT host Ace moderate panelists through vital news topics such as the ones here and more. Around the Table will go live 5/28 at 12 pm EST on Facebook and YouTube Live.

Food Chain

The New Scientist reports the pandemic is the worst global food crisis in decades. This pandemic is different from the 2007 and 2008 food crisis. There is an issue with food access rather than food availability because of the travel and trade restrictions. There is also the issue of lower demand, which affects farmers as well. Read it here.

Grist reports how to fix the food supply chain. There are empty shelves that shows an issue with food access. There are local organizations across the country that are redirecting excess food to families, but it is unclear how much this will dent the food supply chain. Read it here.

Civil Eats reports community co-ops are thriving during the pandemic. Co-ops have been stepping in to take farmers’ bounty and boosting their own inventories. So far, this has been working for co-ops as they’ve seen their biggest sales since. This is an alternative narrative to the food supply chain’s issue of food access with keeping shelves stocked. Read it here.


London Eater reports that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is planning to permit outdoor trade emulating European dining as a fix to the pandemic. Businesses that are licensed to have outdoor seating to set up market-style stalls. This comes from the idea that the transmission rate is believed to be lower outside. Read it here.

Legislators push for federal support of local food systems Civil Eats reports. The State Innovation Exchange (SiX) — a coalition of 128 state legislators urged Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to use the $9.5 billion in the CARES Act to support small and mid-sized farms, with special attention to historically underrepresented farmers. Read it here.

The seafood industry is getting deregulated to expand seafood production with a controversial executive order by President Trump. Environmentalists and fisheries advocates believe the order will endanger ocean life and the independent fishing industry. Others in the fishing industry argues the country needs more aquaculture to enhance food security. Read it here.

Restaurant Dive reports the state of Washington recently stopped requiring the collection of dine-in customer data. Originally, Washington restaurants by guidance of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Phase 2 plan had to keep a log of all on-premise customers including email, phone number, and arrival time. Now, this data is given voluntarily by the customer. Read it here.

Food Waste

Bridget Shirvell of Civil Eats provides an examination of how the pandemic is affecting home food waste. Many Americans don’t have the option to compost given space and issues with access. Food waste has been a big issue before the pandemic and is 6% of global greenhouse gas emissions. It took the USDA more than a month to sell surplus produce, but this doesn’t ignore the edible produce that went unharvested before the pandemic. Food waste expert Dana Gunders provides context in the issue. Read it here.

Yahoo Finance reports that farmers are wasting food more than ever. What’s being highlighted right now is the producers wasting food that might have consequences on food security. Read it here.


Chefs and restauranteurs in the UK fear they’ll have to close due to the pandemic according to The Guardian. Many chefs see this as huge problem since they’re still open, but the prime minister encouraged people to stay home. There is a sense of urgency for chefs as they wait to see what happens to their business and others are shifting to delivery and takeaway in the meantime. Read it here.

Top chefs in London and New York plan post-lockdown plans. Recognizing that restaurants are very expensive to operate, chefs are trying to figure out how customer confidence and social distancing will impact the reopening of their businesses, including the concern with putting customers at risk. Other chefs are still pushing out their food by letting customers know they’re still in operation even during this difficult time. Read it here.

Bloomberg reports the challenges of paying the rent and social distancing since the lockdown. The old model of dining will no longer work and so chefs are thinking about newer dining models that will help them. This includes grocery delivery service; but for other restaurants, social distancing rules will cause issues for restaurants that will possibly open in July. With a shrinking customer base, chefs will have to adapt. Read it here.

Food Dive reports the alcohol industry needs to think creatively to keep afloat. Oliver Wright, global lead for consumer goods and services at Accenture writes this opinion piece providing tips for alcohol companies on how to shift and refocus. One tip is to refocus the business by working with wholesalers, retailers and, delivery partners to fill in the gaps for in-trade or direct-to-consumer channels. Read it here.

Food Dive reports alternative protein investments in Q1 tops 2019 record setting goals with $930 million. Both plant-based and cell-based options for Q1 is up 11% from $824 million invested. Plant-based meat, egg and dairy alternative companies received the bulk of these investments. Cell-based meat companies received double the investment. The pandemic changed the food supply chain, so the shift to alternative protein grew significantly as a result. Read it here.

Uber and Grubhub merger points to consolidation in delivery market according to Restaurant Dive. Uber bid to acquire Grubhub (with neither company confirming reports), but the merger is slated to change the delivery and restaurant industry. The merger might make it more difficult for restaurants to have negotiating power. Grubhub controls two-thirds of the delivery market in New York City. Uber could offer firms a bundled deal of free rides and meal delivery in perk packages, shifting Grubhub partners to Uber. Read it here.

Despite reopenings in some U.S. states, restaurants aren’t very full Slate reports. Part of the reason is state and local customer capping at restaurants to enforce social distancing. Some restaurants don’t want to reopen if it isn’t going to be profitable and for some open restaurants, they’re seeing growth little-by-little. Read it here.


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