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Dollars Spent Eating Out

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Touch the Soil News #497 The USDA reports that dollars spent eating out are almost the same as dollars spent for groceries to eat at home. The facts are that what is spent eating out is growing much more rapidly than the population. For example, Americans spent $42.8 billion eating out in 1970 and a whopping $782.7 billion to be spent eating out in 2016 – a 17 fold increase. From 1970 to today, the population grew by 79 percent. Dollars spent eating out have grown dramatically. The restaurant industry employs 14.4 million people – roughly 10 percent of the American work force. The National Restaurant Association reports that there…

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The Nation’s Top 100 Restaurants – Can You Find Your Favorites? (Part 2 of 2)

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Touch the Soil News # 138 Here are restaurants #50 to #1. Surprising is the Starbuck’s Coffee is the nation’s #2 restaurant. Restaurants #50 to #26 #50) Steak ‘n Shake                        $952,000,000 #49 Bob Evans                                 $959,900,000 #48 Bojangle’s                                  $1,000,000,000 (one $billion) #47 Culver’s                                       $1,000,000,000 #46 Waffle House                             $1,100,000,000 #45 Ruby Tuesday                            $1,200,000,000 #44 Five Guys Burgers n’ Fries      $1,200,000,000 #43 Wawa                                          $1,200,000,000 #42 Zaxby’s                                       $1,300,000,000 $41 Red Robin                                  $1,400,000,000 #40 Carl’s Jr.                                    $1,500,000,000 #39 LongHorn Steakhouse            $1,500,000,000 #38 Golden Corral Buffet               $1,700,000,000 #37 Jimmy Johns’s                          $1,800,000,000 #36 TGI Fridays                               $1,800,000,000 35 The Cheesecake Factory            $1,800,000,000 #34 Whataburger                             $1,800,000,000 #33 Texas Roadhouse                     $1,900,000,000 #32 Hardee’s                                      $2,100,000,000 #31 7-Eleven stores                           $2,100,000,000 #30 Cracker Barrel Country Store $2,100,000,000 #29 Panda…

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The Nation’s Top 100 Restaurants – Can You Find Your Favorites? (Part 1 of 2)

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Touch the Soil News # 137 The Nation’s Restaurant News just finished up with its top 100 restaurants listing for 2015. Did you know we Americans spend as much eating out today as we do eating at home? Other statistics from the NPD Group reveal that the average cost of going out for a sit-down meal is only $7.00 per person? This average includes sit-down meals at fast-food restaurants, which are the most frequented. According to the U.S. Census, the USDA and research from the NPD Group, the average in-home meal costs about $2.50. This means that- on average –one out of every four meals eaten in America is in…

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Egg Conundrum

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Touch the Soil News # 135 Consumer pressure to make egg production more humane resulted in a watershed law in California last year. California laws required that on January 1, 2015, any eggs sold in California must come from hens that have at least 116 square inches of floor space – a 73 percent increase over common practices. Egg industry experts estimated that many egg laying enterprises will enlarge the spaces in order to be able to sell in California, but may reduce the number of hens they have. One estimate is that the California law might precipitate the culling of 10 million hens. Unanticipated, however, is the roughly 50…

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News Roundup – Food-Chain News You Might Have Missed

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Touch the Soil News # 134 Kraft-Heinz Merger, Now a Reality The much publicized merger between Kraft Foods and Heinz is now completed according to a recent company press release. Together, the two companies form the third largest food and beverage company in North America and the fifth largest in the world. The Company’s immediate focus will be on integrating the two businesses, establishing a new organizational structure and delivering its 2015 financial objectives. Unfortunately for the employees, stockholders have high expectations, some of which will be funded by eliminating jobs. Estimated are 7,000 job cuts at Heinz and as yet an undetermined number at Kraft. Following is a short…

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U.S. Food Expenditures – On the Road to $2,000 billion ($2 Trillion)

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Touch the Soil News # 128 Every year the U.S. population grows around 2.7 million and the USDA estimates that food inflation averages 3 percent. By using USDA averages, the U.S. will spend $1,561 billion for total food expenditures in 2015. Of that amount, $26 billion is the value of food grown at home and donated. The following Info Graphic #1 illustrates the growth in total food expenditures. Based upon historical growth averages, we should hit $2 trillion plus by 2021. There are some unknowns between now and then that could change this projection: Will Americans be able to translate their work ethic, skills and labor for enough dollars to…

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Besides the Farmers, What Other Costs Are in Our Food Dollar?

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Touch the Soil News # 126 The USDA just released a corrected and updated estimate of where pieces of the food dollar go.  The USDA data on this report is always a couple of years behind, thus represented here by 2013 numbers. Info graphic #1 below shows how many pennies out of each dollar go to the respective pieces of the food chain. Farm Production, the actual money that goes into producing food, is 10.5 cents. For clarification, grocery stores fall under Retail Costs and restaurants fall under Food Services. When one studies Info graphic #1, the food chain has become so complex and expensive that it is no wonder…

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News Roundup – News You Might Have Missed – Vol 1

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April 1, 2015 │ Berlin, Germany The largest European aquaponics farm has just opened in Berlin, Germany according to European Agriculture News . The enterprise is capable of producing 25 tons of fish and 30 tons of vegetables each year while using substantially less water than conventional farming.  Three years ago, with $1.6 million in funding, Christian Echternacht and Nicolas Leschke founded Ecofriendly Farmsystems. In addition to the aquaponics greenhouse farm, they opened up a storefront attached to the farm to sell its produce. There are plans to open a similar enterprise in Switzerland. (See uploaded video and photo of Christian and Nicolas.) April 15, 2015 │ Albany, California Occupy…

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The Meatrix – Re-visiting the Factory Farm

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Did you see the original Meatrix video clip? It is a cartoon animation about factory farms and the problems they cause to humans, animals and the environment. The first Meatrix came out in 2003. The film’s animation takes a serious subject and makes learning about it fun and engaging. Since the original, there have been updates including The Meatrix II and the Meatrix II½ which are all done tastefully and in a way that pulls you in. CNN Headline News said the film was: “Fighting back in a way you might not expect. … You don’t want to miss it.” The Seattle Post Intelligencer said: “The Meatrix achieves something we didn’t…

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Regulators and the Restaurant Food Chain – Struggling to Restrain Birth of a Giant

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In a previous article, we explored how America now spends more dollars eating out than at grocery stores for home eating. Like everyone else, we at Touch the Soil eat out also. One of the things we noticed is the frequency of Sysco and US Foods trucks at the back doors of the restaurants we go to. One begins to wonder, from whose menu do restaurants order their food from? It all came to a head recently when we stumbled across news about a lawsuit initiated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC is charged with ensuring companies comply with antitrust laws and regulations. Mostly the FTC works things…

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