In the group’s 2013 Restaurant Industry Forecast, the NRA predicts that the restaurant industry will see a more than $660 billion in sales next year, up 3.8 percent over this year, even though wholesale food prices will likely continue to climb throughout the year.
The report cites pent-up demand as a driver of the growth, with a reported two out of five consumers saying they would like to eat out more often. As the economy improves, the NRA says, they may do just that.
And, for the 14th straight year, restaurant industry employment will outpace employment overall, the NRA predicts. This year, restaurant employment grew at a rate of 3.0 percent, a little more than twice the national rate of 1.4 percent. Next year, the NRA predicts an industry employment growth rate of 2.4 percent—with 14.4 million people working in restaurants by 2023. The downside? Recruitment and retention could become more difficult.
Source: meatingplace.com; 12.27.2012
Farms are using a specially milled diet laced with oregano oil and a touch of cinnamon. Some farmers swear by the concoction as a way to fight off bacterial diseases that plague meat and poultry producers without resorting to antibiotics, which some believe can be detrimental to the humans who eat the meat. Farms that have been free of antibiotics, have increased their success due to consumers having a higher demand for purer foods.
Oil of oregano is a perennial one and advertised as a cure for just about everything. Some feel the remedy for reduction in the use of antibiotics in animals.
At the same time, consumers are growing increasingly sophisticated about the content of the foods that they eat. Data on sales of antibiotic-free meat is hard to come by, but the sales are at an infraction of the overall meat market. Sales in the United States of organic meat, poultry and fish, which by law must be raised without antibiotics, totaled $538 million in 2011, according to the Organic Trade Association. By comparison, sales of all beef that year were $79 billion.
In a nationwide telephone survey of 1,000 adults last March, more than 60 percent said that they would be willing to pay at least 5 cents a pound more for meat raised without antibiotics.
Contributing the the confluence of trends, from heightened interest in whole and natural foods to growing concerns about medical problems like diabetes, obesity and gluten allergies, were contributing to the demand for antibiotic-free meat.
In 2011, there were several prominent recalls involving bacterial strains that are resistant to anttibiotics, including more than 60 million pounds of ground beef contaminated with salmonella Typhimurium and about 36 million pounds of ground turkey spoiled with salmonella Heidelberg.
Analysis of Food and Drug Administration data by the Center for Science in the Public Interest found that 80 percent of all antibiotics sold in the United States are used in animals. The majority of those antibiotics are used to spur growth or prevent infections from spreading in the crowded conditions in which most animal production takes place today.
When using oregano oil to control bacterial infection, also keep in mind this requires maintaining high standards of sanitation in barns where animals are sheltered, as well as good ventilation and light and a good nutrition program. After a flock leaves for slaughter, the facility is hosed down, its water lines are cleaned out and everything is disinfected. According to Termite Survey and Pest Control, it sits empty for two to three weeks to allow bacteria to die off and to ensure that the rodents that carry salmonella and campylobacter are eliminated.
Source: nytimes.com; 12.25.2012
For the first 10 months of the year, U.S. pork exports totaled almost 4.5 billion pounds, more than 7 percent higher than the same period of 2011, according to USDA’s latest Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook report.
Although China drove demand through July, recent export strength has come from Mexico, Canada and Russia.
October pork exports were almost 493 million pounds, 2.2 percent above October 2011. In October, year-over-year lower shipments to Japan declined by 1.1 percent from a year ago and declined 5.2 percent January through October. Pork exports to China-Hong Kong declined by 61.6 percent in October, but were up by 16.5 percent in the January-October period. U.S. pork exports to Mexico were up 32.8 percent in October and up 15.6 percent for January-October. Canada imported 20.3 percent more U.S. pork in October and imported 17.4 percent more in the January-October period, while Russia boosted U.S. pork imports by 75 percent in October and by 45 percent for January-October.
Imports. U.S. pork imports in October were almost 4 percent below a year earlier, due mostly to lower imports from Denmark.
Imports of live swine from Canada were fractionally higher in October, up 0.56 percent. Imports of feeder pigs (23-50 kgs) were 36 percent higher than a year ago, likely due to strong prices for finishing animals in the United States. Strong imports of feeder pigs offset year-over-year lower imports of all other categories of imported live swine.
Souce: meatingplace.com, 12.25.2012
Near record low stocks of soybeans and corn and wheat will keep demand for these grain products high and prices good for farmers through the 2013 season.
However, the news is not universally good for farmers. Livestock and dairy farmers will continue to be in a high stress economic situation due to continually increasing grain prices, economists contend.
Grain crops promising
Among the primary crops planted in the region, grain crops will likely remain a good crop for Southeastern growers, while traditional crops like cotton and peanuts may face a difficult time competing for acreage.
Though not considered by some to be a traditional southern crop, wheat acreage over the past few years has continued to climb, especially in the upper Southeast. Among the Southeastern states, North Carolina is by far the largest wheat producer. It is estimated that nearly 1,000,000 acres of wheat will be planted this fall. From 2010 until 2012 in the United States, wheat prices have increased by 42 percent and use for livestock feed has increased an astounding 238 percent. In grain deficit Southeastern states wheat growers are rapidly cutting into the shortfall of grain for use as livestock feed. During the same time, U.S. wheat exports were down by 11 percent and food and seed use was up 3 percent. The small increase in food and seed use was driven primarily by an increase in demand for wheat seed. Wheat acreage for the 2012-2013 growing season in the Southeast is likely to be driven by continued high prices. The latest USDA estimates are for continued good wheat prices, likely in the $8-$9 per bushel range.
Uncertainties over the U.S. corn crop in 2012 are dominating world markets. The U.S. corn yields declined for the third year in a row in 2012. In June of 2012, the USDA estimated corn yields would be 163 bushels per acre. Following one of the worst droughts in history in the Midwest that yield estimate is now down to 122 bushels per acre. Small yield increases in corn in most Southeastern states had little impact on total corn production in the U.S. Production declines over the past three years have driven domestic use for corn down from 13 billion bushels in 2010 down to an estimated 11 billion bushels in 2012. Use is projected to continue to decline in 2013. In 2012 corn stocks were at their lowest levels since 1995. In the past year corn used for ethanol in the U.S. is down 25 percent, feed use is down 9 percent and corn exports are down 25 percent. During that same time, corn prices have increased by 26 percent.
Whether soybean acreage in the Southeast is being driven by wheat or vice versa is open for debate. Regardless, soybean acreage across the region was up in 2012 and appears certain to be up again for the 2013 planting season.
North Carolina a measuring stick
Again, using North Carolina as a measuring stick, soybean acreage in North Carolina in 2012 is projected to be more than 1.43 million acres. For the 2013 season, acreage is expected to increase to more than 1.5 million acres. Extremely hot weather during part of the growing season in 2012, combined with the ideal moisture across most of the state, is proving to be a trade-off on yield, which will likely end up somewhere in the 30 bushel per acre range. The soybean market is riding on a smaller South American crop and on U.S. production concerns for the drought stricken 2012 crop. Since 2006 world soybean stocks are down 12 percent. More alarmingly, exports from major soybean exporters like Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and the U.S. are down an average of 35 percent. Most economists agree this continued decline in soybean stocks worldwide should mean extended good prices. Brazil and Argentina had a sharp increase (29 million metric tons) in soybean production in 2012 and U.S. production is expected to have a slight decrease. Worldwide, soybean production is expected to increase by 11 percent for the 2012 production season, but demand will more than offset a one-year increase. In the United States strong demand will absorb the smaller than expected crop, pushing stocks lower and domestic demand higher. Whether the price of 2012 beans goes up or down will be driven by purchases made in South America and China. Declining soybean stocks will push soybean meal prices even higher. Soy meal prices already are already up 45 percent over the past two years.These high prices are already impacting livestock production in the Southeast and will continue to do so into the next year.
While high grain prices have been a boon for some farmers, the corresponding high price for livestock feed has been devastating for many. Beef cattle numbers are at their lowest level since 1952 and production is near historic lows (22.5 billion pounds). The economic news is not all bad for livestock producers, at least for those able to stay in the business. Beef prices over the past two years have risen by 53 percent and hog prices are up by 65 percent. Despite the high prices, production is expected to fall 45 percent and pork and poultry production by 1-2 percent in 2013.
Source: Southeastfarmpress.com, 12.7.12
As revenues from gasoline and tobacco products fall, foodservice sales are increasingly becoming convenience stores’ most profitable category. Convenience store foodservice is an $11 billion industry, and the second-largest retail host foodservice category behind supermarkets.
The c-store segment comprises about 29% of retail foodservice and almost 2% of the total foodservice industry. Technomic projects that c-store foodservice will grow nominally by 2.5% over each of the next two years.
Convenience stores have shifted their focus to provide a wider variety of fresh, high-quality food offerings to help gain a greater share of stomach and compete with restaurants. At the same time, there seems to be significant room for convenience-store operators to generate increased foodservice sales by translating existing traffic into purchases.
C-store chains are looking to better position themselves for continued growth in foodservice. Some chains are upgrading their facilities by integrating technology to enhance their offerings and the consumer experience. Differentiating themselves from the c-store crowd could better position themselves to compete with limited-service restaurants.
Convenience Stores found that more than half of today’s consumers (52%) pick up snacks from prepared-food sections of convenience stores or mini-marts, compared to 37% in 2010. Almost one in four consumers (22%) occasionally has breakfast from a c-store during the week, compared to only 12% three years ago. Furthermore, 13% purchase breakfast from c-stores on the weekends versus 7% previously.
Source: foodservice.com, 12.4.12
Holidays used to be called “feast days,” and feast days meant one thing: large cuts of juicy meat to carve and share. Whether for formal holiday feasts or casual open-house buffets, roasts are still stunning centerpieces for festive gatherings.
Given how crowd-pleasing they are, roasts are also very easy to cook. Not every cut of meat responds equally well to the dry heat of classic roasting. Check out the list below for descriptions of, and tips for, popular holiday beef and pork roasts.
The star of all roasts, prime rib, is a cut from the center of the ribs (precisely, the seven ribs from rib number six to rib twelve) with the rib bones still attached. The bones add flavor and moisture to the roast, and the ribs conveniently act as a roasting rack. Prime rib is traditionally seasoned with salt and pepper and roasted to medium rare. As with all roasts, be sure to let the meat rest for at least 15 minutes (and up to 30 minutes) after roasting but before carving to let the juices settle and the temperature of the roast to even out.
The seven ribs of meat of a classic prime rib make up a massive roast — 20 to 30 pounds. Butchers also sell three or four-rib prime ribs. “Second cut,” “blade end,” or “chuck end” prime ribs are from ribs six to nine and are fattier than “first cut” or “loin end,” which are ribs ten to twelve and have less fat and a larger eye of meat at their center. First cut prime ribs are, as you might guess, more expensive per pound than second cuts.
Technically, “prime rib” is also from meat graded “prime” by the USDA. Only about 2 percent of beef in the U.S. is graded prime, and it almost all goes to restaurants. But any good quality beef makes a delicious “prime rib” when properly seasoned and cooked.
Standing Rib Roast
A standing rib roast is another name for prime rib and is the name restaurants use when the beef isn’t graded “prime.” While the name “prime rib” gets plenty of people’s mouths watering, “standing rib roast” can sound quite grand when stated with flourish.
Rib-eye roasts are standing rib roasts or prime rib roasts with the bone removed. It is the part of beef that when sliced becomes rib-eye steaks.
Various sirloin roasts (they come with many names and specific regional versions) come from the upper rear of the cow. They respond very well to the dry heat of roasting, have tons of flavor, and tend to be a less expensive than the various rib roasts.
This is the cut used for pot roast. With lots of muscle development, plenty of juicy marbling, and scads of connective tissue, chuck roast needs slow cooking to become tender but rewards patient cooks with excellent flavor.
Briskets are notably popular for Hanukkah. The cut comes from the lower chest of the animal, below the shoulder muscles and just above the forelegs. Since these muscles contain a lot of connective tissue and are heavily used, they develop excellent flavor. Briskets must be properly cooked, however, or they turn tough as nails. Slow roasting with plenty of basting or braising will result in the best briskets.
Whole briskets are usually cut in half for retail sale. Point briskets are less expensive, and many cooks prefer them for the extra flavor they get from the bit of fat at their ends; flat briskets are leaner.
The tenderloin is the leanest cut of either beef or pork, and it can be roasted. Sear the outside over high heat to brown it first and then finish cooking it by roasting for the best results. Tenderloins are expensive and easy to overcook, so give them the attention they deserve.
Crown roasts can be spectacular, especially when stuffed. They are simply two pork loins with the ribs still attached tied into a circle with the ribs pointing up. While single loin crown roasts are possible to construct, you need to cut down into the meat to get the ribs to bend enough, which increases the surface area of meat exposed to heat and tends to result in a dry roast.
Whichever roast you choose, we hope you enjoy this holiday season!
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Many cancer-fighting fruits and vegetables are at their nutritional peak in the fall, and it’s a good time to incorporate them into your diet.
Research suggests that eating an apple a day really may keep the doctor away, by helping to prevent throat, mouth, lung and possibly breast cancer.
Apples contain a nutrient called quercetin, which protects the cell’s DNA from damage that could lead to cancer. The key is to eat them raw and with the skin on. That’s where many of the nutrients are found.
Cranberries, another healthy fall favorite, are in season and at their nutritional peak now. Stock up on bags of cranberries and freezing them for use throughout the year, because there is evidence that the benzoic acid found in these berries may inhibit lung and colon cancer, and some forms of leukemia.
Among the brightly colored fresh vegetables that are available at this time of year are beets, carrots and parsnips. You should eat generous portions of these.
The brighter and richer the pigment, the higher the level of cancer-fighting nutrients.
Dark, leafy vegetables such as kale, broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts are also important, she pointed out. People who eat plenty of these vegetables have lower rates of lung, prostate and stomach cancer.
Kale is a top choice because it’s rich in phytonutrients called indoles, which stimulate liver detoxification and help fight cancer. Orange vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, squash and pumpkins are all packed with nutrients called carotenoids, which have been linked to the prevention of colon, prostate, breast and lung cancer.
Color is key to finding cancer-fighting foods in any season. Eating a plant-based diet is the best way to help lower your risk of cancer all year long.
Source: healthyday.com, 11.26.12
For the first time, scientists can determine the age of a lobster, by counting its rings like a tree. Nobody knows how old lobsters can live to be; some people estimate they live to more than 100 years old. But knowing, rather than simply guessing, their age and that of other shellfish could help scientists better understand the poplulation and assist regulators of the lucrative industry. Before now, scientists deudced a lobster’s age by judging their size and other variables. But it’s now known that lobsters and other crustaceans, such as crabs and shrimp, grow one ring per year in hidden-away internal spots.
Source: Businessweek.com, 11.30.12
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