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Rising Fast-Food Prices Strain American Budgets

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Rising Fast-Food Prices Strain American Budgets

The affordability of fast food, once a staple for many budget-conscious Americans, is now facing scrutiny as prices soar, prompting a shift in consumer behavior and impacting industry giants.

Read also: Surge in Production Costs May Put Pressure on U.S. Food Industry

Kevin Roberts, a Virginia high school teacher, reminisces about the days when a meal at Five Guys cost a mere $10. Today, the same meal sets him back double that amount, leading him to reserve fast food as a rare indulgence.

Roberts is not alone in his sentiment. A recent poll by Revenue Management Solutions revealed that a significant portion of individuals earning under $50,000 annually are cutting back on fast food due to cost concerns.

This trend poses challenges for major restaurant chains like McDonald’s and Taco Bell, where same-store sales have declined amid rising prices. Mark Kalinowski, president of Kalinowski Equity Research, emphasizes the impact on these chains, whose customer base predominantly comprises middle- and lower-income individuals.

As prices have surged over the years, the value proposition of fast food has diminished for many consumers. Roberts highlights the disconnect between price and quality, expressing reluctance to justify the expense for what he perceives as subpar food.

The price hikes are evident across various fast-food chains, with menu items like the McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with Cheese meal more than doubling in price since 2014. Other chains, including Popeye’s, Jimmy John’s, and Subway, have similarly raised their prices substantially.

Rising labor costs are cited as a key factor behind the price increases, with 22 states raising their minimum wages in January. However, labor advocates argue that the industry’s profit margins can absorb these costs without passing them on to consumers.

While fast-food companies explore strategies like rewards programs and mobile apps to retain customers, the impact of rising prices is acknowledged. McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski acknowledges the importance of affordability, signaling a commitment to keeping prices competitive.

In the face of mounting costs and shifting consumer preferences, the fast-food industry grapples with maintaining its appeal while balancing the bottom line.

Frozen French Fries Market is Estimated to Advance at a 4.5% CAGR Through 2033

Frozen French Fries Market is Estimated to Advance at a 4.5% CAGR Through 2033

The global frozen French fries market is anticipated to reach a valuation of US$ 36.5 billion by the end of 2033, expanding at a CAGR of 4.5% across the assessment period (2023 to 2033).

French fries are manufactured from potatoes. They are prepared and served hot and in different shapes, including thin strips, curly, and waffles. Moreover, they are served with salsa, mayonnaise, ketchup, and others and are extremely popular around the world. French fries can be either deep-fried or baked.

Growth of the global market is attributed to the increasing count of companies providing online food delivery services, including Food Panda, Swiggy, Uber Eats, and others. They have made ordering food items an easy and convenient task. In addition, rising product launches by prominent market players are predicted to push the market forward.

For instance,

  • Aunt Bessie is a frozen chip brand that is based in the United Kingdom. The company added novel products to its portfolio of frozen potatoes, which included French fries and seasoned potato wedges.
  • Nowadays consumers are looking for food that is easy to prepare and instantly available. French fries are popular around the world as they are the most likable snacks among all types of age groups. Youngsters are the key consumers of frozen French fries. In certain places in North America, French fries are one of the most commonly consumed dishes. They are also served with fish and can be prepared at home. In addition, frozen French fries are a nice Sunday evening snack to share with family or friends.On the other hand, increasing incidence of obesity around the world has resulted in rising awareness related to healthy eating habits. The excessive consumption of frozen French fries can lead to various cardiovascular diseases. Thus, these health-related factors are anticipated to limit the adoption of frozen French fries to some extent.

    Key Takeaways from Market Study

    • The global market for frozen French fries has been forecasted to expand at a CAGR of 4.5% through 2033.
    • The Canadian market is estimated to increase at a CAGR of 3.7% during the forecast period (2023 to 2033).
    • Demand for frozen French fries in Germany is projected to advance at a CAGR of 3.5%.
    • The global market is valued at US$ 23.5 billion in 2023.
    • Worldwide sales of frozen French fries are predicted to reach US$ 36.5 billion by 2033-end.

    Competitive Landscape 

    Key manufacturers of frozen French fries are incorporating several strategies, including new product launches, partnerships, product development, and others to gain a competitive edge.

    For instance,

    • LMW RUS is a prominent manufacturer of frozen potato products in Russia. In June 2021, the company entered into a deal with Igor Artamonov, who is the governor of the region Lipetsk.
    • McCain, in June 2022, announced the launch of its new Farm of Future Africa in the world food chain.
    • The Kraft Heinz Co. and Simplot Food Group, in February 2022, entered into a deal. According to the deal, Simplot, which is situated in Boise, Idaho, will become the sole producer as well as supplier of the Ore-Ida brand of Kraft Heinz.

    More Valuable Insights on Offer

    Fact.MR, in its new offering, presents an unbiased analysis of the global frozen French fries market for the period of 2023 to 2033.

    The study divulges essential insights into the market on the basis of product (white potato fries, sweet potato fries), application (food service, household), and across five major regions of the world (North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and MEA).



Surge in Production Costs May Put Pressure on U.S. Food Industry

The food and beverage industry has many growth drivers but also some constraints. As a non-cyclical industry, there is a constant demand for food, which helps drive some growth in the industry.  Profit margins in food production and processing, however, are becoming thinner and are facing some pressure due to the highly competitive nature of this industry. Companies are facing higher commodity price volatility, disease outbreaks and weather events, which may well affect profitability and growth.

While the U.S. food and beverage industry has fared well in comparison to worldwide industry performance during the pandemic, and insolvencies have been lower than expected, due to a surge in U.S. food production costs, companies are seeing tighter margins even as higher prices are being passed on to consumers. The U.S. food and beverage output is still forecast to grow by 1% in 2022 – much less growth than seen in the past several years, however.

The recent wave of the Omicron variant felt around the globe may affect plans for a smooth path in 2022. Many businesses, specifically those in hospitality and food service subsectors, are still struggling to absorb the shocks from the beginning of the pandemic, according to a recent food industry trends report from Atradius. The absence of tourism and travel at the height of the pandemic and new variants of COVID-19, are cause for a slow rebound to the economic recovery in that subsector.

The U.S. is currently seeing the highest food price inflation since 2008 and food prices are expected to continue to rise in 2022, at least until the supply chain issues are resolved. As government subsidies disappear, pressures will mount for the U.S. consumer.


-Beverages: A more positive prognosis this year, with solid growth and sufficient liquidity. Beverages have seen much innovation and product development, adding to its positive performance.

-Meat and Dairy: Remains neutral as higher operating and production costs remain high and impact profit margins.

-Food Services: This sector will be the slowest to rebound from the effects of the pandemic and is much more susceptible to future Covid-19 variants.

Trends for 2022

Food will always be a necessity and consumers enjoy cooking at home, as well as dining at restaurants. Demand will always be high in the food industry, however, it is also highly competitive. Healthy and innovative products are key for food companies and restaurants to remain competitive in this landscape.

During the pandemic, food delivery skyrocketed, and this trend will persist in 2022. Options for plant-based and health-focused alternatives continue to increase as consumers demand more choices in this area. Raw material costs and lack of skilled employees will continue to be an issue for the sector in the coming year.

The credit risk assessment remains fair over the next 12 months (for nonpayment and insolvencies). Businesses that are able to effectively pass on price increases while maintaining enough labor and production capacity to meet ongoing demand will find themselves better situated in the coming months.

Sharon Benfer is a Senior Risk Underwriter at Atradius

food and drink

The Millennials Championing Change in the Food and Drink Industry

Millennials have a great potential to change our culture. For the food and drink industry, change is nothing new. New tastes and influences constantly turn over menus and products that reflect consumer demand. However, young people today are forcing the hand of manufacturers and restaurateurs. Demand for unique, varied, and stimulating food and drink is higher than ever.

Here, Electrix, a provider of electrical junction boxes for food and drink manufacturers, explores the trends that millennials enjoy and how it can help restaurants, bars, and stores get a competitive edge.

Boundary pushing

Millennials thrive on uniqueness, and seeking out new experiences is at the core of food and drink culture for this generation. 72 percent of millennials said that they would prefer to spend money on experiences over material things. Food and drink brands recognizing this shift in behavior are beginning to question whether they are selling a product or selling an experience.

To enjoy unique experiences, millennials will seek out opportunities to try new foods and drinks, exploring flavors that have been traditionally hidden in mainstream culture. In the US, international cuisine has seen accelerated growth. In fact, international cuisine is expected to outpace traditional food categories within the next three to five years, according to the Food Institute.

This is happening because the cuisine offers new experiences. Boundaries must be pushed if opportunities are to be found. This journey begins by finding a unique selling point of food and drink and understanding how to create an experience around it.

No option is not an option

Millennials demand choice, and brands that can offer variety are succeeding with millennial demographics. It shouldn’t be surprising. Young people today are familiar with choice: picking from thousands of movies on Netflix, browsing an expansive selection of nut milk in a local café, or debating how and where to eat their food. The latter has certainly been popularized during the pandemic.

Restaurants have not only seen the opportunity in food delivery, but lockdowns have forced restaurant-quality food to come to the customer, rather than the customer heading to the restaurant.

The trend of home delivery options is expected to grow. While in 2017, restaurant to consumer delivery in the US was valued at $11.5 billion, by 2020 it achieved $15.6 in sales. Projections suggest it will further grow to $18.5 billion by 2024. As home delivery options increase, proactive food and drink businesses that seize the opportunity will similarly experience growth. The choice to eat in, take out, or use delivery services is essential for millennials.

Choice isn’t just about convenience. Food and drink brands should curate offerings that reflect lifestyle choices. Does a food brand offer vegan alternatives or meet any other dietary requirements? Can a bar offer a selection of non-alcoholic drinks? Creating choice is creating inclusivity, and when looking for new food and drink options, this offering will give businesses a competitive edge.

Stimulating all the senses

Food and drink aren’t just for the pleasure of tongues. Today, millennials expect an aesthetics experience that they can share with friends and family on social media. In fact, ‘#Food’ has been tagged over 456 billion times on Instagram. ‘#Drink’ and ‘#Cocktails’ have been tagged over 47 million and 30 million times respectively. Millennials make up the main bulk of Instagram users, with those aged between 18 to 34 making up 62 percent of global users.

One survey found that 69 percent of US millennials in this age range took a photo of their food before eating. So, should those in the food industry be working to make their food look great as well as taste great? Absolutely!

Food and drink that appeals to all the senses are gaining ground, whether in restaurants or on grocery store shelves. Consider social media sensations such as Salt Bae, sprinkling seasoning over steak. The recent trend of baklava, tossing pistachio pastry into the air. Or Martinelli apple juice, which replicates the sound of an apple when the bottle is bitten. Each is exciting, unique, and goes down a storm on social media, building millions of views on platforms such as Instagram and TikTok.

Millennials are forcing the food and drink industry to be more than just connoisseurs of flavor. Value in other aspects must be recognized and actioned to encourage millennials through the door.




Cities With the Most Contact-Intensive Occupations

Social distancing measures used to help fight COVID-19 hit certain businesses and occupations especially hard. “Nonessential” occupations that require a high degree of face-to-face interaction—such as cosmetologists, bartenders, and athletic trainers—have been the most vulnerable throughout the pandemic, with large swaths of workers in these fields facing reduced hours or unemployment.

On the other hand, essential workers in occupations with high levels of physical contact—for example, healthcare and logistics workers—have not experienced the same job losses, but have had to grapple with the increased risk of exposure to the virus. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Occupation Information Network (O*NET), more than half of U.S. jobs require very close (near touching) or moderately close (at arm’s length) contact with others while at work. And while much of the economy has gone virtual, new data from the BLS shows that only about 20% of workers are currently teleworking because of the pandemic.

Despite an increasing number of industries transitioning online, jobs that depend on close proximity to others are generally not suitable for teleworking. Over 86% of healthcare practitioners and health care support workers are required to be in close contact with others. While telehealth services have increased dramatically during the pandemic, most healthcare workers have no other option but to work in an in-person setting. Other occupational groups requiring similar levels of close contact include food preparation and serving, personal care, and protective service. At the opposite end of the spectrum, less than a quarter of workers in legal, computer, math, business, finance, architecture, and engineering occupations work in close contact.

The share of workers in contact-intensive occupations varies geographically due to local industry makeup. To find the areas with the most contact-intensive occupations, researchers at Filterbuy analyzed the latest data from the BLS and O*NET to create a composite index based on the share of employment in different occupations and O*NET’s occupation-specific physical proximity scores. Researchers also calculated the percentage of workers in very close or moderately close contact with others, the percentage of workers in healthcare occupations, the percentage of workers in food preparation and serving jobs, and the median annual wage.

At the state level, Mississippi and South Carolina rank highest according to the composite index. About 60% of workers in Mississippi and 58% in South Carolina work in very close or moderately close contact with others. In general, states with higher concentrations of healthcare workers or higher concentrations of food preparation and serving jobs score highly on the index.

At the local level, similar patterns also hold true. To find the metropolitan areas with the most contact-intensive occupations, Filterbuy used the same methodology, but only included locations with at least 100,000 people. Additionally, metro areas were grouped into the following cohorts based on population size:

-Small metros: 100,000–349,999

-Midsize metros: 350,000–999,999

-Large metros: 1,000,000 or more

Here are the large metros with the most contact-intensive occupations.

Metro Rank Composite index Percentage of workers in very close contact with others Percentage of workers in moderately close contact with others Percentage of workers in healthcare occupations Percentage of workers in food preparation and serving related Median annual wage


Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL     1     97.1 21.4% 35.2% 9.6% 8.7% $38,690
Pittsburgh, PA     2     97.1 23.2% 33.2% 13.6% 7.7% $43,200
Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV     3     96.9 23.3% 37.9% 8.7% 12.7% $37,690
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD     4     94.8 22.7% 32.6% 13.5% 6.9% $46,500
San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX     5     94.7 23.3% 35.0% 11.6% 10.0% $37,920
Riverside-San Bernardino- Ontario, CA     6     94.4 23.1% 36.6% 11.2% 9.0% $39,630
Providence-Warwick, RI-MA     7     94.0 22.8% 34.5% 12.2% 8.6% $46,000
Cleveland-Elyria, OH     8     93.8 21.9% 33.8% 11.9% 7.4% $42,740
Oklahoma City, OK     9     93.7 21.8% 34.9% 10.4% 10.0% $39,080
St. Louis, MO-IL     10     93.4 22.2% 33.3% 12.0% 8.4% $42,060
Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI     11     93.1 22.6% 33.1% 13.4% 6.6% $43,380
Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI     12     93.1 20.9% 33.5% 10.8% 7.1% $44,840
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA     13     92.3 22.5% 32.1% 12.8% 6.2% $52,020
Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN     14     92.3 20.8% 34.2% 10.0% 8.4% $41,660
Birmingham-Hoover, AL     15     91.7 22.0% 35.1% 11.6% 8.3% $39,530
United States     –     64.0 21.6% 34.3% 10.8% 8.1% $41,950


For more information, a detailed methodology, and complete results, you can find the original report on Filterbuy’s website:


Top Three Lessons from the Food Transformation Industry

The food industry has learned more from the pandemic than it bargained for. The pandemic taught us some important lessons about improving quality, paying attention to employee and partner safety, and working regularly and consistently with suppliers. The past 12 months have been focused on response and short-term solutions. Many companies found that their operations and supply chains were not prepared to handle unpredictable peaks, and supplier pools lacked flexibility and diversity. Manual logistics processes similarly did not show the flexibility and speed of results needed, and it was difficult to make the quick decisions needed to keep businesses, customers and employees safe. With uncertainties in the safety of food imports and the functioning of restaurants in 2020, food and beverage companies were suddenly faced with new challenges.

Prevention is better than the cure

As the Covid-19 crisis set, a crisis in the supply chain followed, triggered by people’s responses to the spread of the virus, such as panic buying, which submitted the supply chain to an unusual stress, and eventual disruption. As the situation evolved, it became clear that digital transformation and technology upgrades were actions that could not be delayed if you wanted to make decisions based on actual live data.

In preparing for the future, we shift from “responding to challenges” to proactive action. First and foremost, you need a selection of technology solutions that support scalable and transparent processes. There’s a lot of talk about predictive analytics and supply chain modeling solutions these days, but the first step in this process is always the implementation of operational management systems and data exchange systems.

By standardizing your processes and transforming your technology, you can create a system that lays the groundwork for staying ahead of the competition, improving efficiency and preparing for long-term growth. Here are a few ways to get started:

First: Think about continuous quality control.

Food-related industries need to rely on a dynamic system that shows how your business is performing every day. It’s time to set goals for maintaining continuous quality control with your suppliers, within your own walls and in every part of the supply chain.

The first step is to look at all the software or technology you’re using now to see if you can consolidate or eliminate point solutions or irrelevant applications. Once you have a clear picture, you can ask if your systems can “talk” to each other and connect all decision data into a single source of truth. This helps eliminate siloed data and improves communication.

To give examples based on our company’s portfolio of solutions, the WMS system features automatic tracking of expiration dates, including residual expiration dates based on customer requirements. And personal customer accounts based on Generix Supply Chain Visibility provide data on availability products at various points in the supply chain, both in warehouses and in transit.

Second: Move away from manual processes.

How many times has a document or other data been “lost” in email or file-sharing folders? How many times have you worked extra hours to put together a report manually from multiple spreadsheets?

It’s time to let technology take over most of your administrative and routine work. It’s time for the food industry to stop relying on paper, spreadsheets and other manual tools. Chapman’s Ice Cream was enabled to effectively track their ingredients throughout the supply chain thanks to automation, and thus had the data required to react quickly to changes in consumer preferences and protect food safety. During the early days of the pandemic, John Fleming reports in a recent webinar that Chapman’s used the real-time data provided by their WMS to anticipate the supply of their ingredients and manage their customers’ expectations accordingly.

It’s important to remember that modernization doesn’t exclude people from processes. It is the use of human-centered technology that reduces human error, reduces administrative work and improves results. Certainly, you will have to invest in innovation, but technology creates efficiency and transparency that will ultimately save you time and money. Chapman’s for example, were able to reduce losses by gaining real-time visibility over their inventory.

Generix offers its customers an end-to-end process implementation based on the Generix Supply Chain Hub solution. All modules of the solution are interconnected by an integration bus to which you can connect your accounting system (ERP) and other applications in use.

Third: Upgrade your supplier management practices.

Integrating new suppliers and working with existing ones comes with many challenges. Emails go unanswered, contract renewal dates are often missed. Updating certificates, documents and audit results is a chore, to say the least. In addition, supply disruptions during the pandemic may have prompted you to diversify your supply chain. To summarize, working with suppliers is a lot of communication, paperwork and dates to keep track of. In addition, you are responsible for making sure your suppliers meet government and industry standards.

Using vendor relationship management software makes it easier for all parties, allowing everyone to work faster and more collaboratively. Supplier contacts, certification submittals and audit results are all centralized in one place, allowing you to work quickly and accurately to develop and renew contracts. Automated renewal reminders eliminate routine monitoring or worrying about updating a common Excel file on time.

Our company’s portfolio includes different level solutions to standardize work with suppliers: SCV based supplier accounts for goods and services, EDI based supplier portal solution, Generix Collaborative Replenishment for VMI based work. Our company methodology allows us to develop onboarding packages for fast integration of new vendors.

To Summarize

Modernization of systems makes sense both competitively and financially. However, in my opinion, the most compelling reason to upgrade is the well-being of your employees. In these volatile times, they are doing more with the same or even fewer resources, taking on more workload, which can lead to faster and harder burnout. If you can do more to support your employees and their effectiveness, you will achieve better results in the long run.

Generix Group North America provides a series of solutions within our Supply Chain Hub product suite to create efficiencies across an entire supply chain. From Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) and Transportation Management Systems (TMS) to Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) and more, software platforms can deliver a wide range of benefits that ultimately flow to the warehouse operator’s bottom line. Our solutions are in use around the world and our experience is second-to-none. We invite you to contact us to learn more.

This article originally appeared on Republished with permission.



Coffee’s contribution is not peanuts

Established in 1742, the little town of Suffolk, Virginia served as a port along the Nansemond River in Virginia’s Tidewater region, eventually becoming a hub for railroad transportation. An Italian immigrant put Suffolk on the food production map, establishing the Planters Nut and Chocolate Company in 1912. A Peanut Queen is still crowned at the annual peanut festival.

These days, Suffolk has a newer claim to fame in the food industry. Home to several large coffee roasters including Massimo, Zanetti USA, Keurig Green Mountain, J.M. Smucker — and soon — Peets Coffee, Suffolk has become the most caffeinated city east of the Mississippi. The coffee industry has built out a cluster of related activities that generate significant employment and revenue for the people of Suffolk.

A deep commitment to Virginia coffee

Until the 1960s New York City was the undisputed home to the coffee industry. Since then, coffee has been imported through a variety of ports on the East Coast and elsewhere throughout the country, including the ports of New Orleans, Houston, Los Angeles and, of course, Seattle which is the home of Starbucks.

How did Suffolk become a coffee epicenter for the East Coast? Location and maritime advantage. Suffolk is 30 miles west of the Port of Virginia, which was the first to accept the much larger neo-Panamax ships transiting the expanded Panama Canal beginning in 2016. Port of Virginia has embarked on a $700 million expansion project of its own. By 2025, it will have a 55-foot channel depth, making it the deepest port on the East Coast, and will be able to handle an additional one million cargo containers at two of its terminals.

Centrally located on the eastern seaboard, Port of Virginia is capable of serving the major population centers east of the Mississippi. The ports of Baltimore, Savannah, Charleston and Virginia together now account for about one-third of all the green (unroasted) coffee imported into the United States. Suffolk is conveniently located to all of them.

Roasting the competition

Suffolk’s rise to roasting prominence started with one company – Hills Bros, now Massimo Zanetti. Once Hill Bros moved to Suffolk from New Jersey, others began to see its merits as an East Coast base. Building on the foundation of early investment by Lipton, which built its first plant there in 1955, the region is now the third-largest coffee and tea cluster in the country.

The City of Suffolk, together with the Virginia Economic Development Program, welcomed the industry with large industrial sites close to Port of Virginia and collaborated to have three coffee warehouse companies licensed by the International Coffee Exchange (ICE). Only beans stored under very particular, climate-controlled conditions can be certified for trading on ICE’s commodities exchange.

Bean roasting connoisseur allowing customer to smell the aroma from the coffee beans

To ensure the people of Suffolk could move into value-added jobs in the coffee industry, local educational institutions, such as Paul D. Cook Community College in Suffolk, developed training programs tailored to the industry’s needs offering new credentials such as an Industrial Technology and Electronic Controls certification.

The companies offer interesting career paths. “Cuppers” are specialized technicians who test beans for quality and taste the beans after roasting, grading their suitability and characteristics for blending. Nora Johnson came to Suffolk to work as an intern with Massimo Zanetti in 2016 as a Florida Gulf Coast University student. Upon graduating, she joined Massimo Zanetti full-time as a Commodities Analyst, analyzing customer positions on the coffee futures market and has become involved in the company’s sustainability and responsible sourcing initiatives.

Toast the roast

The coffee industry contributes approximately 10 percent of Suffolk’s gross regional product directly, and another 13 percent through indirect and induced effects. The Port of Virginia started a new annual celebration, “Coffee Day,” so everyone can toast the roast and celebrate the opportunities trade brings to the region.


Evelyn Suarez

Evelyn Suarez is a legal expert and consultant specializing in customs compliance and anti-corruption. Ms. Suarez serves on the Virginia Maritime Association Board, and advisory boards to the George Washington University Center for International Business Education & Research and Georgetown University Law Center International Trade Update.

This article originally appeared on Republished with permission.