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Food Issues and Shortages

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Tabitha111 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tabitha111 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 11 2020 at 11:57am

BEEF PRICES SOAR, FOOD INFLATION IS HIGHEST IN MORE THAN EIGHT YEARS

By Chuck Abbott

https://www.agriculture.com/news/business/beef-prices-soar-food-inflation-is-highest-in-more-than-eight-years?

6/11/2020


Food prices rose sharply for the second month in a row, with beef recording its largest one-month increase ever, as the U.S. food inflation rate hit 4% in May, said the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Wednesday. It is the highest rate since January 2012. While food prices surged, the overall U.S. inflation rate for the past 12 months was a tiny 0.1%.


Analysts at Trading Economics, a financial information site, predicted food inflation would quickly return to its traditional modest rate of around 2% annually. In May, the USDA forecast a slightly higher-than-usual increase of 2.5% in food prices this year.


The BLS said food prices climbed by 0.7% in May, following a 1.5% spike in April. “However, unlike the broad increase in April, the May increase was driven mostly by a 3.7% rise in the index for meats, poultry, dairy, and eggs. The beef index increased 10.8% in May, its largest-ever monthly increase,” said the agency’s monthly Consumer Price Index Report.


Meat production slowed during April and into May due to coronavirus outbreaks at meatpacking plants. Some of the largest cattle and hog slaughter plants closed temporarily, reducing the flow of meat to grocery stores. Some chains limited customer purchases.


“The problems in meatpacking plants do not seem over, although most of the plants are back online,” said economist Joe Glauber of the IFPRI think tank. “If this means lower meat production over the next few months, then meat prices will continue to remain higher than year-ago levels but likely down a bit from the current spikes.”


Grocery prices rose by 4.8% in the past 12 months, faster than the 4% overall increase in the price of food, which combines grocery prices and spending on food served at restaurants, carry-out shops, and institutional settings, said the BLS. Food-away-from-home spending rose by 2.9% in the past year.



The BLS report of high food inflation, led by high meat prices, came a day after the USDA said cattle, hog, and chicken processing plants were operating at 95% or more of their production rates in 2019. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said the industry was “providing a great meat selection once again to the millions of Americans who depend on them for food.”


Food accounts for 14% of consumer spending, according to the BLS. Americans are expected to spend a larger share than usual of their food dollar on groceries this year, a result of precautions against the coronavirus pandemic that included a near shutdown of the food service industry in late winter.


“We estimate that households will spend 13% more on groceries than usual, as consumers substitute the food they ate away from home for grocery and pantry items,” said analyst Chris Horymski at the Magnify Money website.

The average household will spend $598 a month on food, down from the previous $710 a month. Groceries cost less than restaurant meals, he said, so food-at-home expenditures will rise by $50 a month and food-away-from-home purchases will fall by $162. “Taken in total, that means the average family food bill will fall by $112,” said Horymski.


'A man who does not think and plan long ahead will find trouble right at his door.'
--Confucius

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote KiwiMum Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 11 2020 at 2:41pm

Ive noticed an increase in the price of some foods here. Cat food has gone up from $10 a bag to $14 which is a huge increase.

You can't fix stupid.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Newbie1A Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 17 2020 at 6:05pm
If it's to be - it's up to me!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote EdwinSm, Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 17 2020 at 10:58pm

Someone can not count (no surprise for a news headline).   "100 days" . WHO's daily report is currently number 149.


BUT it is a good article on the subject - Thanks for posting it.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tabitha111 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 02 2020 at 9:07am

U.S. FARMERS SCRAMBLE FOR HELP AS COVID-19 SCUTTLES IMMIGRANT WORKFORCE

https://www.agriculture.com/markets/newswire/us-farmers-scramble-for-help-as-covid-19-scuttles-immigrant-workforce?

7/2/2020By Mark Weinraub and Julie Ingwersen


CHICAGO, July 2 (Reuters) - The novel coronavirus delayed the arrival of seasonal immigrants who normally help harvest U.S. wheat, leaving farmers to depend on high school students, school bus drivers, laid-off oilfield workers, and others to run machines that bring in the crop.

As combines work their way north from the Southern Plains of Texas and Oklahoma, farmers and harvesting companies are having a hard time finding and keeping workers. 


Any delays in the harvest could send wheat prices higher and cause a scramble to secure supplies to make bread and pasta.

Harvesting companies and farmers interviewed by Reuters said their new U.S. employees have required more training and quit at higher rates than usual, as the combines head north and begin to bring in other major export crops.

[...]

This year, Beckley had no foreign laborers on his crew. He has struggled to find replacement workers, with many Americans unwilling to sign up for months of traveling through the U.S. farm belt.


“They called back and said, 'Hey man, I just don’t think I should leave home with all this stuff going on,’” he said


[...]


But many of those workers were unable to make it to the United States by the time the harvesters set off on their annual trek, according to eight harvesting companies and farmers interviewed by Reuters. Travel restrictions, tighter border controls, and virus fears around the globe led to delays in workers getting out of their home countries.


WISHY-WASHY’


Ryan Haffner, owner of Kansas-based High Plains Harvesting, had planned for 10 workers with H-2A visas to make up the bulk of his workforce when harvest began. But only four made it to the United States in time.

He described his American replacements as “very noncommittal and wishy-washy.” A laid-off oil worker backed out before his first day, 

.Doug Zink, a North Dakota grower with 28,000 acres, was left shorthanded this spring as two farmhands from South Africa did not arrive until late June.


“We had a lot of trouble getting our foreign workers over here,” he said. “They could not get flights.”


If workers keep quitting, the wheat harvest in northern stretches of the Plains and the harvest of the fall crops could be at risk.
[...]

more at link...

'A man who does not think and plan long ahead will find trouble right at his door.'
--Confucius

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote EdwinSm, Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 02 2020 at 11:08am

Here in Finland, the concern has been over the berry harvests (our local farmers usually harvest their own grains as they are much smaller operations than in the US).  So far the strawberry crop has been saved by local workers...but there have been lots of complaints about poor standards of accommodation and other working conditions.  

If in the long term a local work force is needed then I think we will need to pay more for food.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote BeachMama Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 02 2020 at 8:31pm

So, my experience today isn’t an issue with the availability of food — although we are still experiencing off-and-on random shortages of different things — it was about people’s reactions when I purchased some items for my storage today.

Before the pandemic — it must have been early February — I had a mighty weight on me that I HAD to get three month’s worth of food and necessities such as toilet tissue, Kleenex, etc. put away. And I made it...barely! But now I’m working up to 9 months, because I have a feeling that come Fall, things are going to get bad again.

I can get canned beans and tomatoes cheapest at our local Wal Mart, so I placed about six 12-can flats in my cart (there were plenty of beans and tomatoes on the shelves, I must note).  I also bought several boxes of pasta and some other necessities, as well as normal groceries. Suddenly, I had people glaring at me...staring at my cart...asking me what I was cooking for dinner...telling me I must be “Making LOTS of chili!”  It was like suddenly, my purchases were everyone’s business!

In early February, my daughter and I went to the store and bought two carts of non-perishable food. $500 worth!! Nobody said a word then. 

Today I spent a lot less while being terrified I was about to get called out or assaulted for the “crime” of having a few flats of beans.

I got home and told my husband that I’m never doing that alone again. From now on, if we’re shopping for storage — he’s coming with me!

Be aware, because suddenly people feel like they have every right to “police” what we are buying. 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote EdwinSm, Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 02 2020 at 10:20pm

BeachMama.  That was scary. 

It seems as if you need to go to a new mode of stocking up that looks less like you are stocking up.  This will mean buying say no more than one flat of any item at a time, but maybe making up for that by buying a greater range of items.    

If the climate is changing then we need to hid the fact that we are stocking up.  Unfortunately, for this time of Corvid19, this approach of shopping takes longer and you need more visits to shops (maybe a few items from each shop but visiting more than one) and you will come into contact with more people.   It could also mean spending more if you avoid buying multiple items of goods on offer, but you need to weigh that against the extra security of not drawing attention to yourself.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kaye kaye Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 03 2020 at 1:55pm

Originally posted by BeachMama BeachMama wrote:

So, my experience today isn’t an issue with the availability of food — although we are still experiencing off-and-on random shortages of different things — it was about people’s reactions when I purchased some items for my storage today.

Before the pandemic — it must have been early February — I had a mighty weight on me that I HAD to get three month’s worth of food and necessities such as toilet tissue, Kleenex, etc. put away. And I made it...barely! But now I’m working up to 9 months, because I have a feeling that come Fall, things are going to get bad again.

I can get canned beans and tomatoes cheapest at our local Wal Mart, so I placed about six 12-can flats in my cart (there were plenty of beans and tomatoes on the shelves, I must note).  I also bought several boxes of pasta and some other necessities, as well as normal groceries. Suddenly, I had people glaring at me...staring at my cart...asking me what I was cooking for dinner...telling me I must be “Making LOTS of chili!”  It was like suddenly, my purchases were everyone’s business!

In early February, my daughter and I went to the store and bought two carts of non-perishable food. $500 worth!! Nobody said a word then. 

Today I spent a lot less while being terrified I was about to get called out or assaulted for the “crime” of having a few flats of beans.

I got home and told my husband that I’m never doing that alone again. From now on, if we’re shopping for storage — he’s coming with me!

Be aware, because suddenly people feel like they have every right to “police” what we are buying. 


They probably were worried you knew something they didn't.  

keep the joy
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote KiwiMum Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 03 2020 at 3:33pm

Beachmama, I live near a small town and I know everyone there and I've never wanted to draw attention to what I'm buying so I have a standard stock shopping list that I buy each and every time I go to the supermarket and then I add on the extra things that I've actually gone in there for. Some of my standard items include : 4 cans dogs food, a box of candles, a four pack of boxes of matches, a packet of 9 loo rolls, a packet of 4 kitchen towels, 6 cans beans, 6 cans tomatoes etc etc. You get the idea. Little and often. I ramped these numbers up a bit in Feb this year, but the trick is to go in every time you're passing. So why not do a small shop 4 or 5 times a week? I know it's a pain but you'll at least be under the radar. 

I found a store that had N95 masks last week so I went in 3 times and stocked up. I also don't go to the checkouts where I know the cashier well as I don't want to discuss my purchases. Funnily enough here the thing they always comment on is the box of candles. Last week I bought 3 bags of a particular frozen veg that's been out of stock for 2 months, I would have bought more but they only had 3 bags and a worker in the frozen isle told me I shouldn't be hoarding!!! I told him that 3 bags was hardly hoarding and took them anyway.

You can't fix stupid.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BeachMama Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 05 2020 at 10:07am

It’s difficult, because I live in Arizona, where cases are surging out of control and we’re at 91% of our ICU capacity. We’re trying to stay away from stores as much as possible! However, I think y’all may be right — smaller, more frequent trips. Perhaps as early in the morning as possible so fewer people are there and the store is clean.

I think the idea of a consistent list of items that you buy every time is a great one!! And I agree, 3 bags of veg isn’t hoarding. Crazy people!!!! LOL

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tabitha111 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 06 2020 at 11:26am

Lots of really good information in this article~~~



Food bank newcomers must navigate system with COVID-19 precautions

By Cookson Beecher on July 6, 2020


As she provides information to the intake worker at the local food bank, she’s visibly distraught. “Can I help you with anything,” a nearby worker asks the woman. “Is there anything I can do.”


Responding to these kind words, the woman breaks down into tears.


“We’ve always tried to do everything right,” she says in between her sobs "We never thought we’d need to come to a food bank. “


The intake worker quickly hands her some Kleenex, which the woman gratefully accepts.


“We’re all going through tough times,” says the other worker. “Even us. Like most of the other people you see here, we’re volunteers exchanging our time for some food. It’s sad that it’s come to this, but we’re fortunate that there’s somewhere like this to go for help.”


This is just one of the many scenes playing out in local food banks as scores of people —many who have never been to a food bank before — line up to get some food, which in many cases is delivered to their cars in already packed boxes or delivered directly to their homes.


The reason for this dramatic uptick in numbers of people going to food banks is COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. With so many businesses closed and so many people laid off from work, fears about having enough food to feed themselves and their families bubble up to the surface. Some food banks are running out of food before being able to help everyone who shows up.


In one town, they had to close down a highway to prepare for the long lines showing up at the foodbank. And in many cases, the National Guard has been called in to help.


So many newcomers

Food banks are reporting an average increase of 50 percent in demand for food assistance, compared to last year, based on surveys of Feeding America, a network food banks that feed more than 46 million people through various outlets. Forbes ranks it as the second largest U.S. charity by revenue.


According to the organization’s surveys, an estimated 40 percent of the people now being served have never been to a food bank before.


And making things more challenging yet, food banks report that on average 20 percent of their partner agencies, such as church pantries, school pantries, and meal programs, have closed or suspended operations because of the pandemic.


Jenna Russo, spokesperson for Feeding Westchester, a food bank  in New York state, said in 2019 her foodbank gave out 10.1 million pounds of food. Already this year since March, it has given out 5.5 million pounds of food.


“Our food bank line is longer than ever,” she said. “There are a lot of people coming to us for the first time.”


On the other side of the country, the Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services organization served approximately 150,000 people each month before the pandemic. In April and May, that number went up to more than 300,000 people a month.


In March, the nearby food bank in Yolo County, CA,  started delivering food to elderly and medically vulnerable people who were sheltering in place.


Joy Cohan, director of philanthropic engagement at Yolo Food Bank,  said that 750 households received boxes in the program’s first week. By mid-May, the food bank was delivering boxes to 3,000 households per week. In total, the food bank now feeds about 45,000 people, about 60 percent more than before the coronavirus pandemic.


According to the COVID Impact Survey, conducted by researchers at NORC at the University of Chicago, California’s food insecurity level more than doubled between March and April, from approximately 11 percent of the state’s population, to approximately a quarter, or about 40 million people.


In comparison, during the Great Recession of 2008, food insecurity increased nationally by just 3 1/2 percent.


It all happened so fast

For families and farmers alike, it all happened so fast. Suddenly crops in the fields, livestock ready to be butchered, and milk in the tanks lost customers when restaurants, schools, retail stores and more were forced to close their doors. Demand for some foods such as potatoes, many of which were grown to become french fries, and milk — much of which was slated to go to school lunches — plunged.


Produce was left to rot in the fields or wasn’t even planted. A poultry processor in Delaware had to euthanize 2 million chickens because so many workers were out sick because of coronavirus. Some beef plants had to temporarily shutdown because of the same reason: worker shortages caused by the virus. Even pig farmers were having to kill perfectly healthy 300-pound pigs and throw them into the compost pile simply because meat processors were facing decreased demand due to restaurant closures.


Unemployment skyrocketed, money was scarce, and more and more people started turning to food banks for help.


COVID-19 not about food safety

While food-safety officials assure people that  food is not known to be a route of transmission for COVID-19, its overall effect on agriculture and therefore the U.S. food supply has been dire.


To help get food to people, governments have stepped in and directed funding to food banks and other feeding programs. Many philanthropists, churches and celebrities have made donations. Banks have donated food and money. And some farmers have given food away . . . such as the thousands of bags of potatoes farmers gave directly to people and to food banks.


Of course, there’s more to this picture than food, itself. Whereas once food banks had a pretty good idea of how many people would show up for food, suddenly they were and are overwhelmed by how many newcomers are showing up for help. That means the food banks immediately needed more food (twice as much, if not more, as normal); more storage space, more refrigeration, and more volunteers.


What about food safety?

In the crush of all of this, food safety remains a top priority, even though coronavirus dominates the news.


That’s because people can get sick, sometimes critically ill, or even die from eating food contaminated with foodborne pathogens -https://www.fda.gov/food/outbreaks-foodborne-illness/foodborne-pathogens such as E. coli, salmonella and listeria  — not just from meat and dairy but also produce. These microscopic pathogens can’t be seen or smelled, which is why it’s so important for people to know how to keep themselves, their families and their friends safe from them.


Of course, food banks are just one of many sources for food. As such, they work hard to make sure they supply only safe food to recipients. That’s also true for grocery stores, restaurants, food trucks, feeding programs and street food.


Not surprisingly,  a lot of pieces go into this puzzle, among them making sure the food has been kept at the right temperature all along the way and keeping storage units and shipping containers clean. And at the end of the chain is the consumer, who plays an important part in all of this by following good food safety practices at home.


Fortunately, basic prevention tactics are pretty straightforward. Keep certain foods such as lettuces at 41 degrees or colder (in other words, in your refrigerator) or cook foods such as meats to high enough temperatures to kill any pathogens that might be on them. For example, cook hamburger to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F and poultry to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.


And, of course, cleanliness is all important. Handwashing before, during and after preparing and serving food and not using the same kitchen implements and cutting boards for raw meats and produce are important.


For a full rundown of easy-to-understand basic food safety information from USDA, go here -https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/18cece94-747b-44ca-874f-32d69fff1f7d/Basics_for_Safe_Food_Handling.pdf?MOD=AJPERES 


Some troubling numbers

Foodborne illness is a major preventable public health challenge that causes an estimate of nearly 48 million foodborne disease illnesses each year, with 128,000 requiring hospitalization, and resulting in 3,000 deaths in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Common symptoms of foodborne illness are diarrhea and/or vomiting, typically lasting one to seven days. Other symptoms might include abdominal cramps, nausea, fever, joint/back aches, and fatigue.


The incubation period — the time between exposure to the pathogen and onset of symptoms — can range from several hours to one week.


Unfortunately, many programs have greatly reduced or stopped their food safety initiatives amid the pandemic and even before. For example, from 2008-2016, local health departments lost more than 2,000 environmental health full-time employees. These staffing and resource restraints have affected the quantity and quality of services provided. It goes without saying that the COVID-19 public health response has made this deficiency even more troubling.


Also troubling is that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, foodborne illness in 2019, in locations where information was gathered, was on the rise compared with the period between 2016 and 2018. The CDC report shows that foodborne pathogens are increasing across the board. Chicken and leafy greens were specifically cited among the culprits.


What about those dates on labels?

Unfortunately, many food bank recipients, and consumers in general, don’t know how to figure out how long they can keep food from the food bank or the store before it goes bad. Or even if it needs to be washed or refrigerated.


And what are all of those labels about. It can be so confusing. “best by,” “sell by,” and “use by.” What does all of this mean?


One recipient wondered about the milk she had been given at a food bank. The expiration date was past by a few days. Did this mean it was no longer safe to drink? Should she throw it away. Yet why did the food bank give it to her? She had been planning to serve it to her kids.


Another called her local food bank to complain about how dismayed she was that they had given her yoghurt that was post dated.  As far as she was concerned it wasn’t something she should feed to her children.


Unfortunately, some food banks don’t provide information about labeling to recipients. Many believe their mission is to get food to the recipients, not to provide them with some basic information about what to do with it once they take it home.


But some food banks believe it is important for food bank recipients to have this information on hand. For that reason, Feeding Westchester, a food bank in New York state, prints up a booklet chock full of food safety information that it supplies to food recipients. And this year, it will also be slipping thousands of a two-sided flyer about dates and labeling into recipients’ food boxes.


“People always want information on this,” said Danice Tatosian, senior manager of nutrition and public health, referring to dates and labeling. “It’s a game-changer. We don’t want to see food go to waste because people don’t know when something is safe to eat.”


Like most food banks, Feeding Westchester often receives food items that are close to or past the indicated date on their package. The majority of the time, the food is still safe to eat. Food manufacturers use different date codes and terms to ensure that consumers receive their product as peak quality. Once a product is past code date, it can still be of good quality and safe to eat, which is why many manufacturers and stores donate it to the foodbank.


Many food products can be kept past their dates if they are handled properly. Understanding the different terms on food packages can help you decide if a food is still safe to eat. 


Go here to read the food bank’s guidelines about dates and labeling -
https://feedingwestchester.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/2018-Updated-Food-Dating-Guide.pdf 








'A man who does not think and plan long ahead will find trouble right at his door.'
--Confucius

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote KiwiMum Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 06 2020 at 2:33pm

Originally posted by BeachMama BeachMama wrote:

It’s difficult, because I live in Arizona, where cases are surging out of control and we’re at 91% of our ICU capacity. We’re trying to stay away from stores as much as possible! However, I think y’all may be right — smaller, more frequent trips. Perhaps as early in the morning as possible so fewer people are there and the store is clean.

I think the idea of a consistent list of items that you buy every time is a great one!! And I agree, 3 bags of veg isn’t hoarding. Crazy people!!!! LOL


When it was crazy here, I was going half an hour before the store shut at night and it was always quiet.

You can't fix stupid.
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If it's to be - it's up to me!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tabitha111 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 13 2020 at 8:58am


'A man who does not think and plan long ahead will find trouble right at his door.'
--Confucius

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tabitha111 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 13 2020 at 9:06am

https://www.staradvertiser.com/2020/07/02/breaking-news/general-mills-ceo-sees-a-world-with-fewer-soups-on-the-shelves/


Harbinger of things to come? I always find these stories interesting...cause and effect, stuff folks don't seem to notice...but here it is... the news that Progresso is cutting 40 flavors of soups (though, I couldn’t find a list of which ones).

Remember those bare, coronavirus-at-its-peak grocery shelves with only a couple sad clusters of unsold varieties? Safe to assume those won’t be returning.~~~Tabitha (ps...new term to me: pantry-loading!!


General Mills Inc., whose vast array of packaged foods spans Progresso to Cheerios to Yoplait, has cut 40 types of soup from its lineup during the coronavirus pandemic — almost half of the company’s offerings — as it rethinks products in an age of pantry-loading. And those flavors, Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Harmening says, won’t be coming back.


“They may not be able to get 16 varieties of chicken noodle, but they can still get chicken noodle” he said in a video interview from Minneapolis. “As I think forward a year from now, I think that we’ll see fewer varieties on the shelf.” 
(why I shop at Aldi in the first place, too many choices drives me bonkers!~~Tabitha)

Americans, used to being spoiled for choice at the grocery store, may see the shift to fewer product offerings is a long-lasting change even once the pandemic ends. It’s part of a broader shift brought about by lockdowns that’s altering the way consumers shop and eat. People are spending more time in the kitchen and turning back to old-school brands that offer comfort during an unsettling time. (yes, I found boxed Macaroni & Cheese almost addicting at this time!~~Tabitha)

[more at link]


'A man who does not think and plan long ahead will find trouble right at his door.'
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ViQueen24 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 13 2020 at 10:47am

Awww, make your own damn soup!  Nothing hard about it!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tabitha111 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 13 2020 at 11:09am

So much worse than I expected': one worker's time at a virus-hit farm

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/jul/12/one-workers-experience-at-coronavirus-hit-herefordshire-farm

Karen spent three weeks packing broccoli at AS Green and Co before she quit last month in disgust at the working conditions. “It made me incredibly angry that people could be treated in such a manner,” she told the Guardian, recounting her time at the Herefordshire farm where at least 73 workers have tested positive for coronavirus.

“I’ve always known that agricultural work is really hard, but it was just so much worse than I expected,” she said. “I’ve picked apples and planted trees and done lots of hard jobs, but this was the hardest.”


She spent the first week in quarantine, but after that social distancing was not observed, she said. “I was isolated at the beginning but after that we were treated as one big household and you are all working together. Everyone is living and working so close together that it’s not surprising that if anyone gets Covid, it will spread very fast, and now nearly half of them have got it.”

Leaving the site was virtually impossible, Karen said. “You cook for yourself in your caravan, and once a week they take you to the supermarket. You have to have permission to have a car on site, and most people didn’t get permission. There was nothing to stop you leaving but it was very difficult.”


Most of the workers were from Bulgaria and Romania. Karen (not her real name) was one of three English female packers, who shared one of the 33 mobile homes on the site at a cost of £50 each per week.


She earned £8.85 per hour for the first 48 hours a week and £11.06 thereafter, often working 12-hour shifts or longer.


“No one choosing to put broccoli in their baskets has any idea what it is like to pack it,” she said. “You have a crate of broccoli and you have to trim it or not trim it depending on who wants it, and then put it into the right weight pile, and that goes on to a conveyor belt that takes it off to a machine that wraps it up in plastic.”


She claimed there were financial penalties for staff: “People were punished for getting stuff wrong or being too slow. If you were slow you had to have a day off. It didn’t happen to me, but our whole line was sent home early one day.”


She added: “They are audited and accredited by a whole selection of different labels that people stick on food, so I imagine there are farms that are worse.”


Bev Clarkson, a national officer at the Unite union, said: “We said at the start of this pandemic that this is something that is likely to happen, and in particular on the farms because workers are put in caravans or dormitories where they have to share. Employers say they are doing all they can but they say they can’t adhere to the guidelines on social distancing.”


She added: “If one person gets coronavirus it will spread very quickly as has happened here, so this bubble idea is not working. Supermarkets have to be held accountable for what is happening within the supply chain. If supermarkets weren’t demanding such cheap prices then these people could live and work in better conditions. This was just a disaster waiting to happen.”

***




'A man who does not think and plan long ahead will find trouble right at his door.'
--Confucius

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote WitchMisspelled Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 13 2020 at 2:13pm

Originally posted by Tabitha111 Tabitha111 wrote:

Americans, used to being spoiled for choice at the grocery store, may see the shift to fewer product offerings is a long-lasting change even once the pandemic ends. It’s part of a broader shift brought about by lockdowns that’s altering the way consumers shop and eat. People are spending more time in the kitchen and turning back to old-school brands that offer comfort during an unsettling time. (yes, I found boxed Macaroni & Cheese almost addicting at this time!~~Tabitha)

[more at link]



I said more or less the very same thing back in February when we were all prepping madly. I said I was not concerned that there would be no food in the stores here in America, but that the foods we LIKE would not be freely available. And as far as the markets here, I was right. But it wasn't as bad as I feared it would be. My greater concern is the likelihood we'll all need to learn to eat seasonal foods again instead of having something like grapes and broccoli available in February.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tabitha111 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 19 2020 at 7:55am

Uncover how the pandemic has hit the people who pick and process the food we eat, many of them immigrants and undocumented workers. Watch "COVID's Hidden Toll" from FRONTLINE | PBS and Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America on Tues at 10/9c. July 21

'A man who does not think and plan long ahead will find trouble right at his door.'
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote EdwinSm, Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 21 2020 at 10:23pm

It was on the morning news (but I can't find an English language page to link to) that farmers, here in Finland, who are into growing berries expect to harvest only about half of their crops as temporary pickers from abroad have not come this year. This is being reflected in the price of berries rising.   Some unemployed people have tried their hand, but there have been lots of complaints about how poor the facilities are.

It looks like I will need to get out into the woods near here (but the ground growing blueberries (much more tasty than the bush ones) are hard on the back, and there is something in my blood that attracts the insects for a feast.   I have a bad feeling about the autumn (fall in N.America) so that will drive me to get supplies in.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Technophobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 22 2020 at 2:32am

A mixture of DEET and oil of lemongrass seems to keep everything away.  But although the DEET lasts for hours, you have to put lemongrass oil on every couple of hours.  

Odd though it may sound, try the nearest horse suppliers.  Their sprays are often better than the human ones.  Spoilt, hairy bu99ers!

The midges in Scotland forced experimentation!  Microscopic vampires!

ERCD
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote WitchMisspelled Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 22 2020 at 6:24am

Originally posted by EdwinSm, EdwinSm, wrote:

I have a bad feeling about the autumn (fall in N.America) so that will drive me to get supplies in.



I said this a while ago:  I'm not so worried about North America not having food in the markets.  I just may not be the kind of foods Americans (and perhaps Canadians) want to eat or are accustomed to in terms of variety.   Prices will skyrocket in any event.  They already have!   I believe we may be in a situation where we'll have to go back to eating seasonal produce until everything straightens out and this thing is contained.  

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote nzdad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 22 2020 at 6:51am

im interested in the comment about eating seasonal fruits,grown in our own areas of the world.

in our natural state,we couldnt go to the supermarket in mid-winter and buy tomatos,or bananas from the tropic regions.

i believe that eating seasonal,locally grown foods would benefit most people.

a return to local agriculture,trade,and community based living is something i would welcome.

prepare for the worst,hope for the best.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tabitha111 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 22 2020 at 10:06am

Here is the whole Frontline video that aired last night. How the COVID crisis has hit vulnerable immigrants and undocumented workers who have helped keep America fed during the pandemic.

'A man who does not think and plan long ahead will find trouble right at his door.'
--Confucius

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tabitha111 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 23 2020 at 6:35am

https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/22/business/beer-shortage-aluminum-can/index.html

Why America is running out of aluminum cans

A shortage of one of the most mundane items in daily life -- the humble aluminum can -- means beer fans are likely to find that some of their favorite brews are out of stock right now.


The supply problem is prompting brewers like Molson Coors, (TAP) Brooklyn Brewery and Karl Strauss to cut back on the breadth of brands they sell and exacerbating concerns of out-of-stocks.


"Everyone who makes anything that goes into a 12-ounce can is being challenged in some respect," Adam Collins, Molson Coors' spokesperson, told CNN Business.


One major factor is the coronavirus and changing habits related to it.


Beer that would have ended up in kegs at restaurants and bars has shifted, along with other kinds of alcohol, to being sold in retail stores and through online channels and consumed at home -- often in cans. The boom in pantry loading in the spring has compounded the problem by throwing brewer supply chains out of whack.


Demand for the can was already strong before the pandemic. Brewers increasingly turned to the vessel during the past 10 years.

[...]

Another factor: the White Claw-driven hard seltzer trend. The fervor for those drinks has spurred shortages in the tall, slim varietals of the 12-ounce can, which has become a popular format for alcoholic sparkling seltzers, light beer and some craft brands.

"This is a little bit of Covid, a little bit of market dynamics over the long run," said Lester Jones, the Wholesalers Association chief economist.

Molson Coors, which sells brands like Blue Moon and Coors Light, shifted production in its portfolio away from smaller, slower-moving brands as a result of the can shortage, Collins said. He declined to name specific beers, citing competitive concerns.

[more at link]

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote ViQueen24 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 23 2020 at 9:20am

Beer tastes better in bottles anyway.  Wonder how many people will start to brew their own beer.  If I have five seconds, that and making my own wine are skill sets I can see cultivating.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote EdwinSm, Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 28 2020 at 3:47am

Finland:  Plastic buckets, as a bumper crop of wild berries is sending people into the forest.  There is an interesting legal aspect, where one of the "rights" of every person is to pick berries in the forest (even on private land).

https://yle.fi/uutiset/osasto/news/bumper_berry_crop_leads_to_bucket_sales_boom/11468308


ps. I wonder if we will see more deaths when mushrooms come it. Even I know that the mushroom in a lot of children's books, the one which is red with white dots, is very poisonous but there are some other poisonous ones that look like edible ones, so I pick very little of this crop.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote carbon20 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 28 2020 at 4:45am

Originally posted by ViQueen24 ViQueen24 wrote:

Beer tastes better in bottles anyway.  Wonder how many people will start to brew their own beer.  If I have five seconds, that and making my own wine are skill sets I can see cultivating.

Absolutely beer tastes better in bottles.....

And of course the Best beer is Tasmanian......

Well that's what my taste buds say.....lol

Cheers.......

James Boag's Premium is a brand of Tasmanian beer from Boag's Brewery and was first released in 1994. It is a European style lager brewed using pilsner malts and fermented at a lower temperature than most Australian lagers, employing an extended maturation period. It currently has an ABV of 4.6%. Wikipedia
Alcohol by volume: 4.6%
Manufacturer: Boag's Brewery
Introduced: 1994
Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.🖖

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ViQueen24 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 28 2020 at 8:33am


[/QUOTE]

Absolutely beer tastes better in bottles.....

And of course the Best beer is Tasmanian......

Well that's what my taste buds say.....lol

Cheers.......

James Boag's Premium is a brand of Tasmanian beer from Boag's Brewery and was first released in 1994. It is a European style lager brewed using pilsner malts and fermented at a lower temperature than most Australian lagers, employing an extended maturation period. It currently has an ABV of 4.6%. Wikipedia
Alcohol by volume: 4.6%
Manufacturer: Boag's Brewery
Introduced: 1994

[/QUOTE]

Well, now, Carbon, feel free to send some of that good Tasmanian beer over here!  If it really is the best, I'll be happy to shout it from the rooftops!

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