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The State of Our Food Supply

The State of Our Food Supply

From dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks to pursuing solutions that allow foodservice operations to stay operational, things have been increasingly challenging in the last year. At the very beginning of the pandemic, there were concerns about food shortages as it relates to processing and distributing our food supply, and those challenges continue in varying forms today.

Let's start back at the beginning when the national food supply was in possible jeopardy and was an unknown factor. Many people rushed to grocery stores to stock up for weeks and even months on canned and frozen goods. This left grocery shelves bare and consumers terrified for what was to come.

The industry that struggled the most during this period was the meat processing business.  With heavy staffing working in proximity, many processing staff members fell ill with the coronavirus causing many plants to close. Companies responded, though, and measures were put in place such as temperature scanning, social distancing, and increased sanitation. By June, meatpacking was back to operating at roughly 97%, as reported by WebMD.

While the initial scare put us in a world of uncertainty, we slowly began to find a balance. More resources were available, and shelves were less bare. What we learned was the importance of keeping staff healthy across the entire foodservice spectrum, from grocery stores to restaurants to delivery drivers to meat processing plants.

As the virus continues to sweep across the United States, many are now worried that the industry won't suffer from a supply shortage but rather a staffing shortage. Even with new regulations and rules set in place, extra cleaning, and additional precautions, people are still testing positive for COVID-19. 

Critical labor is being put at risk in order to keep our food supply functioning, leaving many questioning if their jobs are worth that risk. On the other end of the spectrum, many are still seeking jobs and a surplus of people are working from home, keeping grocery stores flooded with business. 

New solutions are popping up daily to help prevent the spread of the virus as well as assist in keeping operations functioning, and even in the initial scare, most weren't going hungry due to a lack of food supply. Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics reported the biggest vulnerability for food insecurity was due to the loss of jobs from lost income with collapsing prices and lowered market demand. 

While there's still concern over the potential changes in the industry as we continue to deal with the pandemic, for the foreseeable future food supply looks promising and reliable. 

For a full list of all available COVID-19 product solutions from Lakeside, we encourage you to visit our main COVID-19 Resources page. 

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The Ghost Kitchen Trend of 2021

Take Out Containers

Living in the digital age definitely comes with a lot of perks, especially when it comes to foodservice and what's known as the "ghost kitchen". In the last five years, apps like GrubHub, UberEats, and DoorDash have taken over the food industry. Offering convenience by taking away the long lines and busy hustle of sitting in a restaurant waiting to order, these apps have provided a simple way to grab breakfast, lunch, or dinner without having to leave the comfort of your office or home. What more could you want?

Well, from an industry perspective, staying on par with the latest trends without having to take a loss to be a part of it is the goal. As consumers further move towards online orders and delivery services, keeping up without going into debt can be difficult for start-ups and older businesses. Fortunately, the ghost kitchen is offering a perfectly balanced solution to help you keep up with consumer's technology-savvy desires.

WHAT IS THE GHOST KITCHEN PHENOMENON?

Simply put, a ghost kitchen is a facility set up for delivery-only meals. It provides space to prepare and produce these meals so that online orders are successful without any snags or troubles along the way. Through ghost kitchen services, foodservice operators are able to expand their areas of service, focus more on seamlessly contactless methods of serving, and cut back on the costs of real estate.

PERKS, CONS, AND MORE

Ghost kitchens are dominating the food industry by honing in on a specific style of food or a particular cuisine. This allows kitchens to focus on multiple brands of an item, making it easy to reach customers looking for a specific dish while also taking advantage of the real estate market. Perks you can be on the lookout for are:

  • Cross utilizing products between brands
  • Quick launch phase
  • Cheaper than opening a brand-new location for each brand
  • Less equipment needed
  • Expand customer reach by taking advantage of a broader delivery area away from your permanent location

With any new business model, there are disadvantages. As ghost kitchens grow and work out all their kinks, here are the cons you might experience:

  • High competition due to an increased virtual food court
  • No walk-in traffic
  • Limits on your delivery service based on where that kitchen is located

As trends change and services such as ghost kitchens continue to rise in popularity, staying on top of the foodservice industry will also change. Ghost kitchens' rise in success comes from their ability to expand business in small increments. They allow you to reach consumers you may not reach otherwise and help you break into the delivery service movement that's taking over.

Following the odd year we had in 2020, consumers will continue taking advantage of online ordering and curbside pick up or delivery services. In 2021, we can expect that the ghost kitchen trend will grow drastically. It only takes somebody 66 days, on average, to form a habit. If we look at that from a delivery perspective, then the habit of utilizing quick service apps is already habitual.

For more information on how you can implement the ghost kitchen into your foodservice operation, contact us at Lakeside today. Our experts focus on manufacturing top of the line foodservice equipment as well as continuously monitor the latest industry trends. We'll be following the ghost kitchen trend through 2021, and we look forward to helping you make the necessary changes to do the same and to further assist in increasing the success of your overall foodservice operation.

Keep up with even more trends by watching our recorded webinar "Top 10 Foodservice Trends of 2021".

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How Digital Tools are Transforming Foodservice

Chef Taking Food Inventory

Are you interested in improving efficiency, increasing output, and reducing food waste in your restaurant or other foodservice business? If you are, it may be time to get technical. That's right, technology is playing an increasingly important role in the foodservice industry.

According to an article in Forbes magazine, we owe many of the improvements in the production, packaging, shelf life, and safety of food to improved technology in the food industry. From drone farmworkers to robotic butchers, technology is impacting all areas of food production and distribution. For example, satellite imagery helps monitor weather patterns that can affect the timing of planting and harvesting. Farm drones pinpoint diseased crops so that pesticides can be applied precisely where they're needed instead of blanket bombing entire fields. Advanced packaging can improve food safety, increase shelf life, and help eliminate waste.

Going Green

Technology can even help your business go green. An app such as Copia can keep track of your food inventory to help you make more informed purchasing decisions. It will also help you reduce food waste by connecting you with local non-profits who can make good use of your surplus food.

After-school programs, shelters, and other programs will benefit from that surplus while you reap the tax benefits of your donations. Not only that, but you'll no longer be contributing to the 40% of American food that gets wasted each year. That's an important point for many customers, especially millennials and generation Z.

Sustainability is a major concern for many of these younger customers. They may even choose a place to eat based on it. Reducing water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions go hand in hand with reducing food waste. So too does sourcing food locally, since it reduces the fuel and emissions associated with long-distance shipping. Not only is improved sustainability beneficial to the planet, but it also benefits your bottom line through lower food costs and an increased customer base.

Managing Inventory and Production Schedules

Use technology to help you with more accurate inventory management so that you always know what to order and when. You can also use it to manage your production schedule in order to improve efficiency and reduce wasteful overproduction. According to the non-profit ReFED organization, you can save thousands of dollars annually just by using technology to track and reduce waste.

Digital tools transforming foodservice is just one trend to look for in 2021. Learn more about the top food and beverage trends of the new year in our recorded webinar, “Top 10 Foodservice Trends of 2021”.

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Food As Medicine – An Intro Guide

Fruit and Medicine Bottles

If there's one thing we learned in the past year, it's that our health is the most important thing we have. And as we know, one of the most important aspects to staying healthy is eating a healthy diet. Yes, food is important because it helps us stay healthy.

Eating a healthy well-balanced diet year-round is key in keeping your immune system healthy. Fresh fruits and vegetables give us many of the vitamins and minerals our body craves and prevents infections. While supplements can be useful, it's better to get what you need from fresh or frozen foods and not a capsule. Hospitals and senior care communities across the country know this, and that's why food is often viewed as medicine — food has the power to heal.

With cold and flu season in full swing, now is the time to do everything necessary to keep our bodies healthy and free from disease. Especially in the age of COVID-19, bodies need these six beneficial vitamins and ingredients:

Vitamin C

Your mother probably told you to drink your orange juice because it was packed with vitamin C, and you should always listen to mom. The simple reason it's so important is that it may increase white blood cell production, which helps to fight viruses, bacteria, and infections.

Foods packed with vitamin C include:

  • Grapefruit
  • Oranges
  • Tangerines
  • Red bell peppers
  • Broccoli

Not only do these foods help boost immunity, but they're also great for maintaining skin and eye health.

Vitamin E

Not always thought of as the most common vitamin when boosting immunity, but vitamin E is a powerhouse. Packed with antioxidants, which help protect cells against free radicals, vitamin E is important for eye, blood, and brain health.

Foods full of vitamin E include:

  • Almonds
  • Peanuts
  • Seeds
  • Avocado
  • Spinach
  • Canola oil
  • Olive oil

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is super important in that it is anti-inflammatory and may help antibodies respond to toxins in the body. It's also fat-soluble, which means it's best to include healthy fats with it to aid in absorption.

Important for vision and cell division and reproduction, here are some common foods packed with vitamin A.

  • Carrots
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Butternut squash
  • Spinach
  • Dairy products
  • Cantaloupe
  • Dark leafy greens

Iron

Iron helps support immune health. It is a key nutrient in helping develop white blood cells and mobilizing their response. Iron is also crucial to blood health and reproductive health.

Need more iron in your diet? Try these foods.

  • Chicken
  • Red meat
  • Turkey
  • Oysters
  • Clams
  • Canned tuna

Zinc

In order to produce new immune system cells, zinc must be present. Unfortunately for us, zinc is a mineral our body doesn't produce, so we need to get it elsewhere. It's typically found in shellfish (oysters, crab, lobster), but eating yogurt or chickpeas will also do the trick.

The thing about zinc is that you need it for healthy immune function, but getting too much of it can have the opposite effect and impair immunity.

Garlic

Garlic isn't used to just season food or give you stinky breath, but it contains a myriad of compounds to support immune system health. It has been shown to reduce stress hormones and increase the production of T-cells. This superstar may also lower blood pressure and cholesterol according to recent clinical trials. Used throughout the ages to treat colds and infections, soldiers even used it in World War II to prevent gangrene.

The concept of "food as medicine" is just one trend to look for in 2021. Learn more about the top food and beverage trends of the new year in our recorded webinar, “Top 10 Foodservice Trends of 2021”.

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Webinar: Top 10 Foodservice Trends of 2021

Top 10 Foodservice Trends of 2021

Webinar: Top 10 Foodservice Trends of 2021

Your world has been dominated by shifts and progressions, forcing the evolution of your operations. So how can you keep up?

After months of surveys, conversations, trainings, and research, we’ve identified 10 foodservice trends to help you rise into the new year.

You’ll learn:

  • The top 10 foodservice trends in 2021
  • How other businesses and industries are adapting
  • How to implement these strategies for yourself

Reserve your spot now!

Recorded Webinar