Today’s Summit F&B Listening Report:
Top News/F&B Headlines:
- Smithfield Foods said that its plant in Sioux Falls, S.D., one of the nation’s largest pork processing facilities, would remain closed indefinitely at the urging of the governor and mayor after 293 workers tested positive for coronavirus. The plant, which employs 3,700 workers and produces about 130 million servings of food per week, is responsible for about half of the state’s total number of cases.
- In an emergency order backed by San Francisco’s mayor and two members of its Board of Supervisors, the city says that delivery companies that wish to continue to operate in the city must cap the fees they charge restaurants at 15 percent. Grubhub, who the announcement came to as no surprise, sent an email to users Thursday night railing against the as-yet-unannounced plan from the city, stating “This will increase your fees by $5–10 per order and immediately cripple delivery orders, outweighing any potential benefits when takeout is the only option restaurants have to stay open.”
- The U.S. now has its first large wave of people who have recovered from the coronavirus — and thus may be immune to reinfection, at least for a while. That has freed them to go back to doing things that most of the nation must still avoid. Their freedom takes different forms, like socializing with friends who have also had the virus and flying to a distant state to visit parents. Recovered health care workers are able to fill in for colleagues who are still at risk of infection or have fallen ill. Many recovered patients are eager to donate blood to aid research on antibody treatments
- The International Monetary Fund has warned that the global growth is headed for its worst performance since the Great Depression, with a new forecast predicting the world economy will contract by 3 percent in 2020. The stark forecast, issued on Tuesday in the fund’s World Economic Outlook, took into account the weeks of shuttered factories, quarantines and national lockdowns in response to the coronavirus pandemic that have caused economic output around the world to collapse.
- In a matter of weeks, the coronavirus has radically altered the ways Americans are spending their money. Using data from the credit card and debit card purchases of nearly six million people, The Times tracked changes in spending across food, entertainment, travel and more.
The spread of coronavirus through the food and grocery industry is expected to cause disruptions in production and distribution of certain products as panicked shoppers test supply networks as never before. Industry leaders acknowledge shortages could increase, but they insist it is more of an inconvenience than a major problem. People will have enough to eat; they just may not have the usual variety. The food supply remains robust, they say, with hundreds of millions of pounds of meat in cold storage.
Consumer Search Behavior:
Today’s main searches focus around Hank Steinbrenner, co-owner of the New York Yankees, and John Conway, mathematician, who both passed away. Another figure making news is Michigan Gov. Whitmer who is facing fierce backlash after signing a strict stay-at-home order.
F&B specific – “Fast food restaurants near me” has reclaimed its hold in the #1 spot for food-related searches. New to the list is enquiry into Maryland food stamps, which occupies spots 3 and 4.
Heroes– who’s making the news for doing the right thing:
- California poultry company Foster Farms is partnering with food banks to help provide more than 2 million meals to families impacted financially by Covid-19. In coming days, the family-owned company will contribute to hunger relief efforts by delivering protein to food banks and community organizations on the West Coast as well as Louisiana and Alabama.
- Carlisle, Pennsylvania-based The Giant Co. has established a $250,000 emergency grant program, in partnership with Team Pennsylvania, to support small businesses in Pennsylvania’s food supply chain impacted by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
- The Bumble Bee Seafood Co., based in San Diego, California, says that it will donate $1 million worth of its shelf-stable seafood products to Feeding America, a nationwide network of food banks. The organization will distribute the much-needed supplies to Feeding San Diego, the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank and the Community FoodBank of New Jersey.
- Estée Lauder donated a $2 million grant to Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières to support its efforts in countries that lack substantial resources to combat the coronavirus. It also announced the reopening of a factory in Melville, New York, which will start producing hydroalcoholic gel.
- Domino’s is giving away about 10 million slices of pizza — let’s just call it 1.25 million pizzas, assuming each one is eight slices — to thank first responders and others. The food is going to hospitals and medical centers, grocery store workers, and others. Domino’s says all 6,126 U.S. locations, the majority of which are owned by franchisees, are expected to take part in the “feed the need” giveaways. Late last month, Domino’s said U.S. same-store sales rose 1.6 percent in the first quarter ended March 22 after rising 3.6 percent in the first month of the quarter, before the pandemic began leading to stay-at-home precautions across the country.
Déjà vu, anyone? Another company has decided to turn its perspective to employees. Sam’s Club launched a national TV spot, thanking all of its associates by name. JP Morgan showcased advisor’s WFH space while emphasizing that the company is there for its customers. Up next? Panera.
The chain, whose own employees handle the bulk of its delivery, had some of those workers record themselves while on the road. The campaign emphasizes that Panera is still open for business, including delivery for those staying home. The recordings, which were largely unscripted, were shot on the drivers’ smartphones. Panera asked managers to choose outstanding drivers in their areas, who were then approached about the project and paid for their participation.
Panera, who recently started delivering groceries to help offset lost profit from COVID-19, is utilizing a similar strategy that we’ve seen become more prevalent; focusing on employees and surrounding communities. Compared to yesterday’s insights, showcasing JP Morgan employees’ personal WFH spaces, this ad pulls in a lot of similarities. Once again, companies are turning to their associates to provide authentic content to share, marking a new, steadfast trend in COVID-19 marketing.