Specialty Food Magazine

FALL 2018

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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The Last Straw Plastic is leaving a bad taste in people's mouths because of environmental concerns and the food industry is acting. From Eataly to Starbucks to McDonalds to Tesco, companies are finding alternatives. Paper straws from Aardvark Straws, for example, reportedly the only U.S. producer making FDA- compliant, food-grade, marine degradable, and compostable paper straws, have seen a 5,000 percent growth in the last year, forecasting the future success of paper straws. But companies are also looking into those made from hay and bamboo. (Consumers can easily find stainless steel straws for home use.) It's not only straws. McDonald's, Starbucks, and Closed Loop Partners have partnered to develop a cup that can be mass produced from materials that are recyclable and/or compostable. Legislation is cementing the movement. Seattle has implemented a ban on both plastic straws and utensils in restaurants, while New York City, California, and Hawaii aren't far behind. The U.K. will be the first country to ban plastic straws and stirrers, beginning in 2019. But this legislation is not free of criticism. Consumers with disabilities contend that going without a plastic straw isn't an option as paper straws and other alternatives fall apart easily and silicone straws are too inflexible for those with mobility issues. WILL CASH REMAIN KING? Credit and debit payments may reign over cold, hard cash. Industry icon Danny Meyer has converted all of his establishments to cashless, and fast casual and high-end restaurants across the country are following suit. Considered a way to streamline operations, going cashless lessens employee theft and the chance of robbery, and allows employees to focus on service. Visa is sweetening the deal by offering chosen restaurants up to $10,000 each in free technology or marketing expenses if the restaurant agrees to stop accepting cash. Many consumers likely won't mind: 40 percent of Americans say they like to pay with credit, 35 percent with debit, and 11 percent with cash, reports a 2016 survey by credit card servicing company TSYS. Only 5 percent of consumers between the ages of 25 and 34 pay with cash. On the flipside of the coin, some restaurateurs don't want to deter customers, and would rather not pay credit card fees. States are weighing in: Massachusetts enacted a law saying businesses can't refuse legal tender. The sales of milk-free yogurt by 2027, according to Future Market Insights. $7,400,000,000 16 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com trends & happenings

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