Export Savvy E-News – May 18, 2020

Volume 17 – Issue 14


CFEA & Partner News


COVID-19 Update

The covid-19 update page was last updated on May 15th. You can access the page at this link.  The webinar recording page has also been updated and can be accessed at this link.

Virtual B2B Programs: Thank you to all that responded to our virtual B2B program enquiry. The government has approved the reallocation of funding to this program so on Tuesday at 1pm ET we will launch the US program and later in the week we will send out the European program.

Cloth Masks: Is your company looking to source cloth masks? If so Dennis from BG Health Group has become an official distributor of Canadian manufactured  masks and said they would be good for any industry including warehouse/office/manufacturing settings.  For information please contact Dennis Gunn at dennisgunn@bghealthgroup.com.


Member Highlight

Starmedix Inc. is an exporter of fine alcoholic beverages from Ontario mainly to the Middle East Gulf Cooperative Council countries and South Asian markets.


CFEA Events with limited space

September 7-10, 2020 Fine Food Australia, Melbourne, Australia

September 14-17, 2020 Alimentaria, Barcelona, Spain (new dates – one company is interested in cancelling so if you’re interested in exhibiting please let us know)

September 28-30, 2020 SIAL Show, Shanghai, China (new dates)

December 1-3, 2020 Educational Mission to the Netherlands, Amsterdam (new dates)

December 2-3, 2020 PLMA Show, Amsterdam, Netherlands (new dates – one space available)

December 17-20, 2020 Food Taipei, Taiwan (new dates)


Other Events

May 20, 2020 1:30pm ET FSVP: How to manage these requirements from FDA (free webinar by Groupe Transit)

May 25, 2020 1:30pm PT Export Beyond BC with E-Commerce (free webinar by Export Navigator)

May 26-June 25, 2020 The Immunity Webinar Series 2020 (free webinar series by NutraIngredients)


Fact Sheet Posts

To view all available postings, please visit our Market Reports and Regulations pages.


Export Savvy Magazine

The Export Savvy magazine should be arriving this week in your mailbox. We would love to hear what you think about it. Please send feedback to info@cfea.com. The electronic version will be a permanent edition on our website which can be accessed at this link.


Retail News


Saudi Arabia: Online food sales surge amid COVID-19 pandemic: consumers in Saudi Arabia have drastically ramped-up their online purchases of food products in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, new data reveals. Learn more at FoodNavigator (May 6).

US: Ahold Delhaize boosts e-commerce amid high demand: Ahold Delhaize says “unprecedented demand” caused by the pandemic prompted the grocer to accelerate its omnichannel investment, with plans to launch click-and-collect points this year at more than half of its nearly 2,000 US stores, up from the 707 available when the first quarter ended. The company also said its purchase of the New York supermarket chain King Kullen, originally announced in 2019, should close in the second half of this year. Full story at Progressive Grocer (May 7).

UK: Coronavirus disruption prompts Morrisons to extend Amazon offering: Morrisons has stepped up its measures to combat disruption caused by coronavirus by extending its online offer through online retailer Amazon. Full story at FoodManufacture (May 11).

South America/US: South American delivery platform debuts in the US: South American delivery platform Cornershop has debuted in the US, with Miami and Dallas as the launch cities. The platform, backed by Uber and Accel, has seen exponential growth and currently operates as one of the largest grocery delivery services in Latin America. Full story at Specialty Food (May 11).

US: Pandemic will push online grocery sales up 40% in 2020: this year’s online grocery sales are poised to grow 40% fueled primarily by the pandemic, compared with 22% growth in 2019, according to the Coresight Research US Online Grocery Survey. Full story at Supermarket News (free registration) (May 11).

US: Restaurant supply company Sysco gets creative during COVID-19: Sysco is providing food direct to consumers at its warehouse in Pleasant Grove, CA, through the launch of a Will-Call Pop-Up Truck sale. Customers place orders online and receive instructions for safe, socially distant pickup protocols. Products include steak packs, pizza, bundles of flour, bottled water, and yogurt. Full story at News 93.1 KFBK (May 11).

China: Enormous eGrocery investments: Consumer demands for convenience, quality and variety drives funding surge: investments in China’s eGrocery start-up sector continues to soar with funding reaching USD2.1 billion in 2019, a 25% increase from 2018, new data reveals. Full story at FoodNavigator (May 12).

US: Grocery Outlet gets a boost from new shoppers: the coronavirus pandemic has pushed many shoppers to try out new stores, and that trend was among the key factors that helped drive big sales at Grocery Outlet. President R.J. Sheedy said the grocer, which is also taking advantage of imbalances in the supply chain, wants to add to its current 355 stores and plans to grow this base an annual 10%. Full story at Winsight Grocery Business (May 12).

US: Amazon eases waitlists, adds Whole Foods “dark store”: as the initial surge of online delivery demand caused by the pandemic begins to subside, Amazon will remove waitlists and invite-only delivery requirements in many cities, aiming to return to its one- to two-day norm. The retailer also plans to end pay increases for workers on May 30 and has converted a sixth Whole Foods Market location to a “dark store” that will only fill online orders. Full story at CNET (May 13).


Foodservice News


US: Food & Wine names 10 Best New Chefs of 2020: Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs list for 2020 consists of 10 chefs “who not only will help rebuild their shattered industry, but also will eventually help it thrive in new ways — through their cooking, their resolve, and their vision for what a more equitable future in restaurants might look like,” Khushbu Shah writes. Chef Nick Bognar marries Thai and Japanese cuisines at Indo in St. Louis, Lena Sareini crafts desserts with unexpected savory ingredients at Detroit’s Selden Standard and Eunjo Park serves creative takes on the Korean rice cake at Kawi in New York City. Full story at Food & Wine (May 2020).

US: Restaurants make plans to recapture morning business: quickservice brands are planning how to get back morning customers after the coronavirus outbreak eases. The daypart has suffered as fewer people commute to work, with McDonald’s CFO Kevin Ozan citing “a disruption to routines.” Full story at QSR magazine (May 2020).

US: Reopened restaurants have had ‘good results,’ association says: restaurants that have reopened in Missouri have “had good results,” according to the head of the Missouri Restaurant Association. Restaurants that reopened were operating at about 50% capacity because of state social distancing requirements, but its member restaurants had “comparable numbers” or were slightly up on May 4 and 5 compared with the same days last year. Full story at St. Louis Business Journal (subscription required) (May 7).

US: Souplantation’s buffet-style restaurants closing for good due to the coronavirus: Souplantation, the popular buffet-style dining brand founded in San Diego 42 years ago, is closing all of its restaurants permanently, a casualty of the coronavirus pandemic that is likely to be the death knell for all self-serve eateries. Full story at The San Diego Union-Tribune (May 7).

US: Why Taco John’s wants to cook up more locations in KC market: Taco John’s is shifting its target customer to couples in their mid- to late-30s with children and active lives. The chain is rolling out a new store prototype that features a slightly smaller dining room and bright colors that caters to Millennials. It plans to remodel 70 restaurants over the next two years, and develop 15 restaurants in the Kansas City, KS, market over the next three to five years. Full story at Kansas City Business Journal (subscription required) (May 10).

US: Illinois eateries push to reopen earlier: restaurant operators in Illinois are urging Gov. Jay Pritzker to allow them to reopen earlier than scheduled, saying they can make changes to protect customers. Pritzker’s five-step plan for reopening the state puts restaurants into the fourth phase and could delay reopening until June 26. Full story at Restaurant Business (May 11).

China: Tim Hortons China says Tencent has invested, did not disclose amount: Tim Hortons China received an investment from Tencent. Tim Hortons will use the funds to upgrade digital infrastructure and open more stores in China. It plans to expand store numbers in the country to 1,500 from the current 50. Full story at Reuters (May 11).

US: Steak ‘n Shake permanently shutters 51 stores in first quarter: Steak ‘n Shake permanently closed 51 restaurants in the first quarter as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Food sales in the first quarter, which ended March 31, decreased 41% from 2019. Owner Biglari Holdings Inc. reported a $137.9 million loss in the first quarter, primarily driven by investments in Cracker Barrel. Full story at Phoenix Business Journal (May 11).

China: Popeyes to open 1st of 1,500 planned China units this week: Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen is moving ahead with plans to expand in China, which it forecasts will become its second-largest global market in the next few years. The pandemic pushed the opening of the chain’s first China store to this week from March, and plans call for 1,500 units in the country by 2030. Full Story at BNN Bloomberg (May 12).

Canada: Tim Hortons lays out new plans for dining rooms: Tim Hortons operators are gearing up to reopen their dining rooms with safety guidelines, including creating more space between tables, limiting parties to four people at one table and sanitizing tables and chairs after each use. The Canada-based chain, which has offered drive-thru, takeout and delivery service since discontinuing dine-in traffic on March 17, expects to have all its Canadian stores reopened sometime in June. Full story at Financial Post (May 12).

US: Restaurants see an uptick in demand for healthful fare: consumers who craved comfort foods in the early weeks of the pandemic may now be looking for more healthful options, at least for some meals, according to various reports. Noodles & Co. has seen an uptick in orders for zucchini noodles and Chipotle Mexican Grill is promoting new Lifestyle Bowls with a “get back on track” message. Full story at Restaurant Business (May 13).


Trend Watch


UK: Keeping up to speed on plant-based foods: industry and expert reports suggest the plant-based/vegan market is set to continue growing, as it has been since 2015, and consumers are choosing the lifestyle for several reasons – ethical, environmental and sustainable being among them. So, the choice available to this expanding market is now extensive and becoming ever more so. Learn more at FoodManufacture (May 1).

US: Candy & packaged beverages begin to see positive spend numbers return: convenience store candy sales increased the week ending April 26 for the first time since mid-March, according to a report from the National Association of Convenience Stores and PDI. Federal stimulus checks and the lifting of some stay-at-home orders contributed to the growth, the report states. Full story at Convenience Store News (May 6).

US: Frozen food to remain category ‘heavyweight’ for months and years to come: just as shelf-stable pantry items have experienced surging sales in recent months, frozen food sales have exploded since the onset of COVID-19 with new consumers entering the category, finds a recent survey commissioned by the American Frozen Food Institute. Full story at FoodNavigator (May 8).

US: What to expect from post-pandemic shopping: the three stages of post-pandemic consumer behavior could be called “rebound, reboot and reinvent,” said Nielsen Intelligence Leader Scott McKenzie, explaining price sensitivity and demand for local and contact-free shopping will increase. Consumers will also increasingly authenticate products to confirm “they do the job they say they do,” he added. Full story at Supermarket News (free registration) (May 8).

EU: Is coronavirus changing how we eat: the coronavirus crisis is causing people to re-evaluate their diets because it has underlined the link between food and health, according to some pundits. However, habitual eating patterns are just that – habitual. To what extent has COVID-19 changed the way we eat? Learn more at FoodNavigator (May 11).

US: Old-fashioned brands trending in supermarkets: consumers are returning to old-fashioned brands that previously fell out of favor. Aside from a shift towards comfort food during the pandemic, supermarkets have reduced the range of products they offer, playing to the strengths of global manufacturers who can deliver orders in bulk. Full story at Food Institute (May 11).

US: Want to stay competitive in the growing protein space? Look no further than consumer preferences: in a category once driven primarily by meat, consumers gave little thought to where their protein came from. Their choices were simple: beef, poultry, pork or seafood. But now, with the multitude of choices available, the category has become increasingly competitive, giving today’s shoppers the opportunity to seek specific qualities in the protein they choose. From dedicating more consideration to where the protein comes from and the way it was raised and processed, to placing emphasis on quality and taste factors, consumer habits and preferences provide valuable insights into how existing products can evolve—and new ones can be created—successfully. Full story at FoodNavigator (May 11).

Europe: Coronavirus: Betting on aeroponics to increase food security: as the COVID-19 pandemic upends farming and food supply chains and raises concern of widespread shortages and price increases, aeroponics players are hoping their new food production innovations can help strengthen food security. Learn more at FoodNavigator (May 12).

US: How to boost product appeal to all generations: brands can improve consumer outreach by personalizing it via social media channels and tailoring messages to address a person’s stage in life, such as healthy aging for boomers, according to research. Issues important to all generations include clean living, sustainability and improved nutrition, and younger consumers seek food and beverages that appeal to all five senses, the report states. Full story at Candy & Snack Today (May 12).

US: Shoppers begin to shift from stockpiling to penny pinching at the grocery store: shoppers are making more trips to the dollar store, are buying more private label brands, and are cutting back on snacks and sodas at convenience stores, according to data captured by IRI. Private label sales were up nearly 19% over the four-week period ended May 3 compared with a year ago, while national brand sales were up about 12% year-over-year during that period. Full story at CNBC (May 13).

US: Comfort food cravings fuel cheese consumption: more than 80% of people like cheese, and 90% eat cheddar or other mainstream varieties at least once each month, according to Datassential. Cheesy comfort foods such as pizza and burgers have become even more popular during the pandemic, and consumers are also eating more exotic cheeses including Gouda, cotija and manchego, Datassential’s Renee Lee Wege writes. Full story at SmartBrief/Food & Travel (May 13).

US: Specialty protein producers are expanding output: production of high-end varieties of meat is expanding at a time when coronavirus outbreaks at traditional facilities wiped out about 40% of conventional US beef and pork capacity in recent weeks. Demand is exploding for specialty farmers. Specialty meat still makes up a small fraction of total US meat sales, but producers are using the recent demand boom to expand their operations. Full story at Bloomberg (May 13).

US: Growth ‘turned sharply negative’ for snack and nutritional bars after coronavirus hit: sales growth in most snack and nutritional bar segments – categories associated with convenience, on-the-go consumption and sports – has dropped sharply since coronavirus hit, with the biggest drops in performance nutrition (-20% in March/April), meal replacement (-17.9%), weight management (-11%), and health & nutrition (-5.8%), according to a new report from analysts at Bernstein. Full story at FoodNavigator (May 15).


Health Watch


US: How children eat may be just as important as what they eat: creating a healthy food environment that allows children to choose what and how they eat encourages positive, long-term eating habits and maintenance of a healthy body weight, according to a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Learn more at FoodNavigator (May 11).

China: Diet quality in Chinese population improving, suggest new index: researchers have developed a new index to measure the quality of diets in China, and claim it shows that nutritional intake is improving. Learn more at FoodNavigator (May 11).

US: Our ability to focus may falter after eating one meal high in saturated fat: eating just one meal high in saturated fat can hinder concentration, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The study compared how 51 women performed on a test of their attention after they consumed either a meal high in saturated fat or the same meal made with sunflower oil. Their performance was worse after eating the high-saturated-fat meal than after they ate the meal containing a healthier fat. Full story at ScienceDaily (May 12).

UK: Beyond sugar and salt reformulation: The case for ‘positive nutrition’ targets to help curb obesity: implementing ‘positive nutrition’ policies – to increase the amount of whole grains, fruit, nuts and seeds, and vegetables in our diet – could help the UK combat childhood obesity, argue experts. Full story at FoodNavigator (May 13).

US: Can fruits, tea help fend off Alzheimer’s disease: consuming more fruits, tea, or red wine may protect against Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The study found those who consumed the least of the studied items were two to four times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease or another related dementia. Researchers suspect flavonoids were the substance providing the benefits but stopped short of claiming a definitive cause-and-effect relationship. Full story at HealthDay (May 13).

Europe: Digital health and IBS: The big opportunity: digital therapeutics for IBS is a huge opportunity that has been largely untapped by players in the nutrition industry. Here, personalised nutrition expert Mariette Abrahams outlines the opportunities and challenges in how to get involved in this ‘exciting’ area of health. Full story at NutraIngredients (May 14).


Food Safety Watch


EU: Countries take up interim rules on official controls during pandemic: more than a dozen countries have taken advantage of temporary rules to tackle disruption in official control systems in Europe because of the coronavirus pandemic. Learn more at Food Safety News (May 9).

US: Amazon shows off prototype of virus-killing robot: Amazon has unveiled a prototype of a robot that could someday use ultraviolet light to kill the novel coronavirus in stores and warehouses. Infection rates among the company’s workers are “just under” rates seen in nearby areas, Amazon executive Dave Clark said in an interview with the TV program “60 Minutes.” Full story at GeekWire (May 10).

US: Getting-to-Market barriers for cell-cultured meat discussed in new GAO report: a new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) says federal food safety agencies “could strengthen existing efforts to prepare for oversight of cell-cultured meat.” Learn more at Food Safety News (May 11).

UK: FSA issues new guidance for food manufacturers: food manufacturers are being reminded that they are required to implement and maintain hygiene procedures based on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles. Learn more at FoodManufacture (May 13).

Scotland: Hepatitis A and E cases rise; Listeria and norovirus fall: data shows a decline in Listeria, Shigella, Yersinia and norovirus cases while hepatitis A and E infections increased in the past year. During 2019, there were six cases of Listeria monocytogenes reported to Health Protection Scotland (HPS), the lowest number seen in recent years. There were 12 cases reported in 2018 and 17 infections in 2017. Full story at Food Safety News (May 14).


Trade & Regulatory News


US: Texas proposes rules for consumable hemp products: the state of Texas has proposed rules for consumable hemp products that specify processing, testing, labeling and registration requirements. While the rules are characterized as reasonable and well thought out, they represent another patch in a state-by-state quilt of regulations, stakeholders warn. Full story at NutraIngredients (May 11).

Ireland: Beef fraud: Counterfeit products the biggest threat to supply chain: in a 20-year analysis of reported food fraud in the beef supply chain, researchers have found counterfeiting to be the most common type of fraud. “By better understanding the fraud which is taking place, we can target fraud prevention, detection, and mitigation,” Kelsey Robson from Queen’s University Belfast tells FoodNavigator. Learn more at FoodNavigator (May 12).

China/Australia: China cuts Australian beef imports amid virus tension: China suspended imports of Australian beef May 12 after it warned of trade retaliation if Australia pushed for an inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic. China is Australia’s largest market, accounting for about 30% of its meat exports. Meanwhile, barley exporters were warned of increased duties on their product, as well. Full story at CBS News (May 12).

US: Missouri restaurants lobbying to make to-go cocktails a permanent menu feature: the National Restaurant Association wants Missouri to permanently allow restaurants to sell to-go alcohol. Missouri Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control granted permission on a temporary basis to help restaurants stay afloat, and the National Restaurant Association said to-go alcohol sales will also be helpful to businesses on their long road to recovery. Full story at St. Louis Post-Dispatch (May 12).

APAC: COVID-19: Food supply chain to be given ‘specific focus’ for economy regrowth as lockdowns in region relaxed: ministers in charge of trade for countries within the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) regional forum have highlighted ‘remedying economic challenges’, including the restarting of food and agriculture supply chains, as a key focus even though halting the spread of COVID-19 should remain a ‘top priority’. Learn more at FoodNavigator (May 13).

UK/US: UK plans to cut tariffs on US agricultural imports: the UK is planning to cut tariffs on US agricultural imports to advance progress on a free trade agreement. The package is facing internal opposition from the UK’s environment secretary who raised concerns that such a step could undercut UK farmers. Britain is the seventh-largest US goods trading partner, after South Korea, according to the US Census Bureau. Full story at Reuters (May 13).

UK: Government throws out standards amendment to Agriculture Bill: the Government has voted against an amendment to the UK’s Agriculture Bill that would have guaranteed high standards for food and drink entering the country post-Brexit. Learn more at FoodManufacture (May 13).

UK/Japan: Trade talks to open, but timing ‘challenging’: UK – Japan trade talks are to open shortly, now the UK has published its negotiating objectives for a free trade agreement, but industry representatives have described the timing as ‘challenging’. Learn more at FoodManufacture (May 13).

US: Grocery inflation surged in April despite a decline in world food commodity prices: while the price of gas, clothing, and many other consumer goods has fallen during the pandemic, grocery prices are on the rise, with the food-at-home index showing the largest monthly increase since February 1974, despite continued declines in world food commodity prices. Full story at FoodNavigator (May 13).

UK: CBD industry body looks to lay foundation for standardised testing: the Association for the Cannabinoid Industry (ACI), which aims to create a safe, legal and well-regulated CBD market in the UK, says it is in high-level discussions with the Laboratory of Government Chemists (LGC) to develop more precise methods for testing CBD in foods, which it claims would mark an ‘essential step towards standardisation for the industry’. Learn more at FoodNavigator (May 14).

UK/EU: Deadlocked in Brexit talks as clock ticks down: talks between the EU and UK regarding their post-Brexit relationship nearly stalled with both sides accusing the other of blocking progress weeks ahead of a crucial summit for the deal. The sides remain far apart on various aspects of the deal, including fishing rights and the role of high courts in settling future disputes. Full story at CBS News (May 15).