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Wasteless – A Better Approach to Grocery Shopping

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Touch the Soil News #677 Wasteless is a start-up tech company from Israel. It is re-inventing how grocery stores manage inventory (food), pricing and minimizing waste. The new technology is headed for America and other parts of the word. In the U.S., almost 50 percent of food from the farm field never gets into a consumer’s stomach. All along the food chain the waste takes place. The largest concentration of waste takes place in grocery stores. Modern grocers are inefficient when it comes to managing perishable and processed food. Estimates are that U.S. grocers lose a $1 billion a day in food losses. Wasteless is placing RFID chips on food…

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What Is the Food Price Index?

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Touch the Soil News #638 The Food Price Index is a global average of the costs of: Meat – poultry, beef, pork Dairy – butter, cheese Cereals – wheat, corn, rice Vegetable oils – palm oil, canola oil, soybean oil, etc. Sugar – cane and beet sugar The base date of reference is 1/1/2004. This means on this date the index showed all commodities at 100. For February 2017, the Food Price Index stood at 175.5 – which means the global cost of basic foods has gone up 75.5 percent over the past 13 years. The importance of the food price index to Americans – like folks of all other…

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Food Chain Insights into the 2017 Economy

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Touch the Soil News #590 (feature photo CC. SA. 3.0) Roughly half of all American food dollars ($780 billion) are spent eating out – mostly in restaurants. The restaurant industry employs 14.5 million people, almost 10 percent of the nation’s workforce. So while economists and government bean counters tell us the economy is going great guns and things have improved, you would think that would show up in the restaurant industry. However it is not and some restaurant economists now question the official consensus that the economy is improving. The Nation’s Restaurant News (www.nrn.com) recently reported that 2017 doesn’t look so hot for the restaurant industry. Following are some of…

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Food Expiration Labels ?X%#$

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Touch the Soil News #574 When looking at a package of food it can say: Best by 1/15/2017 Best if used by 1/15/2017 Sell by 1/15/2017   Come to find out, hardly anyone knows what they mean. Amidst this confusion, the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service decided to bring some clarity to the confusion regarding understanding expiration dates on food. What kind of clarification do you think the USDA – with oversight on the nation’s food safety – might provide? Get ready for this one. After the nation’s top food minds put their thinking caps on, they are recommending that manufacturers and distributors of food use this wording: BEST…

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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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What is a Holiday Club?

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Touch the Soil News #450 (feature logo courtesy of Trussell Trust) It is hard to tell what the message is when it comes to helping out food-insecure families. Is it about food, or is the universal message about teaching people how to work together? Holiday clubs are a new form of working together that is emerging in the United Kingdom (UK). The clubs center around helping alleviate issues associated with hunger and an inability of families to do activities on the roughly 170 non-school days a year. When school is out, 40 percent of parents in the UK worry about the extra costs of paying for childcare, meals that were…

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What Else Could Go Wrong?

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Touch the Soil News #393 In a recent (May 23, 2016) story, the Miami Herald reported that hunger is stalking Venezuela with only 54 percent of people eating three meals a day. Rich in oil, Venezuela historically used foreign oil sales to finance food at home. With two years of very low oil prices, food in Venezuela has taken a big hit. Food lines and food riots are not uncommon. On the hot seat is Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro – governing with a strong arm, he can’t find a way to fix food in his country. (Photo CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain) A poll by DatinCorp in April found that…

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Campus Hunger Gives Higher Education a Reality Check

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Touch the Soil News #366 According to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the average cost of tuition and fees has increased more than 95 percent statewide since 2004. Depending upon which poll you read, estimates are that as many as 50 percent of college graduates end up working in a field that did not require them to go to college in the first place. To add to the burden of trying to survive after college graduation, some 37 million students are struggling to repay the $1.2 trillion in student loan debt outstanding – roughly $32,000 per student. Schools of higher education are at the core of teaching the nation…

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America’s Top 10 Grocers

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Touch the Soil News #356 Ever wonder who the top 10 grocers are in America. Following is the list of the 10 largest grocers: Walmart from Bentonville, Arkansas.  5,249 stores in the U.S.  Annual consumable sales of $247.5 billion. Kroger Foods from Cincinnati, Ohio.   3,732 stores in the U.S.   Annual sales of $109.8 billion. Costco from Issaquah, Washington.   569 stores in the U.S.   Annual consumable sales of 69.4 billion. Albertson’s from Boise, Idaho.   2,205 stores in the U.S.   Annual sales of $58.3 billion. CVS Health from Woonsocket, Rhode Island.   7,911 stores in the U.S.   Annual consumable sales of $44.4 billion. Target from Minneapolis, Minnesota.   1,805 stores in the U.S.   Annual…

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Food Safety Spook – Chipotle Restaurant and More

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Touch the Soil News #313 The year 2015 was not a good year for Chipotle Restaurant. The multi-state outbreaks of food poisoning in multiple Chipotle locations sickened hundreds of people. The video clip below is very insightful as the whole scenario is summarized. It is spooky to say the least. But just when Chipotle got a clean bill of health from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Department of Justice opened an investigation. At question is whether Chipotle was criminally negligent in food safety procedures and operations. After a year of food poisoning crisis in 2015, Chipotle has re-opened all its restaurants hoping to have contained the problem. Unfortunately,…

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