June 1, 2021 Issue
October 7

Sporting Clays Classic
Milford Hills, Johnson Creek, WI

November 30-December 2

Annual Convention & Processing Crops Conference
Kalahari Convention Center, Wisconsin Dells
Pallet Shortage: Produce Group Warns of Bigger Disruptions
to Food Supply Chain
Although conversations are occurring within the North American (and global) industry relative to the current acute pallet shortages, the United Fresh Produce Association believes that many do not yet realize the factors impacting the situation and the potential scope of the issue, including the availability of produce to consumers. The lack of pallets is adding stress to a supply chain that is already facing significant challenges which include a lack of available trucks and shipping containers, ongoing labor challenges, fluctuating fuel costs, pandemic-related challenges and a pending shortage of resin used to make reusable containers and pallets.
MN Gov Walz Doesn't Believe Extra Unemployment Aid is Keeping Workers Away

A survey released last week by the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation and the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce showed that 58% of respondents blamed the unemployment benefits for the labor shortage. Read More

Source: MN Chamber
More States Will End Enhanced Unemployment Benefits

Nearly half of all states are planning to end enhanced unemployment benefits, which were made available due to the pandemic. Critics of the benefits say they were a disincentive to finding new jobs. At least 23 states are going to stop participating in the federal government's supplemental unemployment benefits program, which provides an extra $300 a week to the jobless. The rationale for dropping the payments is that they discourage workers from returning to the workforce. States are varying when they will opt out. Four states—Alaska, Iowa, Mississippi and Missouri—will drop the benefits on June 12, the earliest states may leave the program. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey will end participation in the program on July 10, but Arizona will offer a $2,000 return-to-work bonus. The extra $300-a-week payments will continue until Sept. 6 in states that don't opt out. Alaska, Arizona, Florida and Ohio are only dropping the $300 benefit, while the other states are also canceling federal benefits for gig workers and the long-term jobless. Cutting the $300 benefit affects approximately 4 million people. Only about half of them will continue receiving state benefits, which average less than $400 per week.  Read More

Source: IMA
Illinois Lawmakers Go Into OT, Approve $42 Billion Budget, Elections Changes and Ethics Package

From Chicago Tribune: Illinois lawmakers went into overtime Tuesday, missing a midnight deadline to adjourn the spring session but approving a $42 billion state budget, a plan shifting next year’s primary to June and an ethics package requiring more financial disclosure of officeholders. Strains between the Democratic-controlled House and Senate, under two new leaders, were evident when the House indicated its work for the spring session was largely finished and members headed home. The Senate, under President Don Harmon of Oak Park, planned to return to work later Tuesday and assess an unfinished legislative landscape. Left unresolved were plans for future energy policy for the state, efforts to strengthen gun laws, an elected school board for Chicago and law-enforcement backed changes to a sweeping police reform law approved just months ago. Despite the unfinished business, House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, who took over in January from embattled veteran Michael Madigan, said “this has probably been one of the most successful sessions around here in a long time.” Read More

Source: IMA
Encourage Your Workforce to Get Vaccinated

Last week, AFFI hosted a call with members to understand how the latest U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) mask guidance is impacting the frozen food industry. AFFI scheduled a meeting with the CDC to share members’ questions and concerns.
In the meantime, AFFI recommends that the food industry not change mask requirements and physical distancing for employees, regardless of vaccination status. In addition, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is working on workplace standards to help inform how companies should utilize this new CDC guidance. AFFI continues to seek information regarding forthcoming OSHA guidance and will keep the industry apprised as the impact of these guidance documents and statements become clearer.
Continue to encourage your workforce to get vaccinated. AFFI is a supporter of the COVID-19 Vaccine Education and Equity Project and invites you to utilize these materials to help educate your workforce. 

Source: AFFI
Managing Workplace Mask Requirements as Restrictions Are Lifted

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently relaxed many of its COVID-19 safety recommendations for people who are fully vaccinated—which raises complicated questions for employers about whether to revise their mask requirements and social-distancing policies. According to the CDC, fully vaccinated employees can safely work indoors in many situations without wearing masks, social distancing or undergoing COVID-19 screening procedures. "Of course, CDC guidance is not legally binding and only tells employers what behavior CDC thinks is safe based on [the agency's] expertise with contagious infections and diseases," explained Pierce Blue, an attorney with Morgan Lewis in Washington, D.C. Employers that are located in a state or municipality that continues to mandate masks and social distancing must follow those orders, he noted. Employers that aren't subject to more-stringent local laws will have to choose whether to drop mandates or keep stricter rules in place. Brooke Schneider, an attorney with Withers in New York City, said business leaders should stay focused on worker and customer safety in their specific work environment.

Source: IMA
Increased Demand for Comfort Food Variety to Bolster Global Fruit & Vegetable Processing Market

Fruit and vegetables are both major food products in their own right and key ingredients in many processed foods. Research on fruits & vegetables and their importance in maintaining good health along with several advanced techniques to safeguard the nutrition and sensory abilities required by the consumers has been on rising since a few years. Processing, which includes canning freezing, preparation and drying of jellies, jams and juices, boosts the shelf life of vegetables and fruits. Processing comprises the preparation of raw material with cleaning, followed by trimming, peeling, cooking packing or sometimes freezing. Read More

Source: CLFP
WI Gov Evers Likely to Veto GOP Effort to Cut Enhanced Unemployment Benefits

The Legislature’s GOP-led rules committee voted Wednesday to eliminate the state’s emergency rule waiving work search requirements in order to be eligible for unemployment benefits. The move came hours after Gov. Tony Evers hinted he would likely veto GOP-authored legislation aimed at eliminating the state’s participation in enhanced federal unemployment benefits, which provide individuals on unemployment an extra $300 per week. Read More

Source: WisPolitics
Consumer Brands Revises Economic Forecast
Now that first-quarter data is in hand, Consumer Brands has revised its 2021 economic forecast. The original forecast predicted a 1 to 2% decline in demand compared with 2020, but an increase of 1.4% is now expected. The revision came after first-quarter demand grew 8% year-over-year, according to Consumer Brands' latest CPG Economic Pulse report. 

Source: CBA
"Public Health 101 Failure": CDC Mask Decision May Knock Out Biden's Workplace Crackdown
The CDC’s surprise mask-dropping guidance for those who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 may have killed any effort to require their blanket use in workplaces — a bitter disappointment to unions and other safety advocates who have been pushing the Biden administration to tighten things up on the job, not loosen them. Read More

Source: WisPolitics
FDA Outlines Inspection Activities as Pandemic Recovery Unfolds
FDA recently released a report entitled Resiliency Roadmap for FDA Inspectional Oversight, which recaps inspectional activities during the COVID-19 pandemic and details its plans to resume “normal” operations. FDA explains that it will not be able to meet inspection frequencies for food facilities as mandated under the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) given the high volume of inspections. FDA will continue to prioritize mission-critical and for-cause inspections and look for alternative ways to increase remote inspection opportunities for inspections that do not meet these criteria. AFFI will keep you informed on FDA’s inspections as the pandemic recovery unfolds. Read More

Source: AFFI
FDA To Launch Technology Traceability Challenge
The FDA is asking technology providers, entrepreneurs and innovators to come forward and develop traceability technology tools that are scalable and affordable for food operations of all sizes. The FDA New Era of Smarter Food Safety Low or No-Cost Tech-enabled Traceability Challenge will launch on June 1. Read More

Source: CLFP
IFIC: Consumers Prioritize "Healthful" Inclusions, Place Less Importance on Low/No/Reduced Claims

Food and beverage brands hoping to capitalize on growing consumer interest in health and wellness may be better served by promoting what is in their products versus what isn’t based on new research from the International Food Nutrition Council. Read More

Source: CLFP
Low Hanging Fruit: Close Your Open Ports!

Open ports on your organization's network are a cyber weakness, and carrier renewal terms are increasingly linked to proper port management. Cyber insurance claims activity has proliferated at a break-neck speed. The frequency of incidents has risen as ransomware, business email compromise, and other perils have become more successful and sophisticated. With that success comes hefty price tags for ransoms and remediation costs that can span months. In our ongoing series, Low Hanging Fruit, we explore cybersecurity solutions that your organization can implement to boost cybersecurity. Read More

Source: M3 Insurance
US Organic Sales Reach Nearly $62 Billion
Home cooking during the pandemic fueled record growth in organic sales last year, according to the Organic Trade Association’s (OTA) 2021 Organic Industry Survey released today. Organic food sales (which makes up 91.2% of all organic sales) jumped 12.8%, comprising almost 6% of total food sales. Combined, organic food and non-food products exceeded $60 billion for the first time. Read More

Source: CLFP
Packaging in Pandemic: Sustainable Packaging Still a Priority During Covid-19
Sustainable packaging is at the forefront of consumers' minds even as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Companies in all industries are taking notice. One 2020 survey of 15,000 consumers by supplier Trivium Packaging and Boston Consulting Group found that 74% of consumers were willing to pay a premium for sustainable packaging. Packaging manufacturers are innovating in terms of material recyclability, package design and supply chain management. Read More

Source: CLFP
General Mills Taps Power of Choice to Boost Morale
General Mills' HR team has conducted pulse surveys throughout the pandemic to monitor employee well-being and found not all employees responded positively to the perk of an extra day off. The team created the Gift of Choice program, which allows employees to choose their bonus from three options, having learned autonomy is key to boosting morale. Read More

Source: CBA
Pandemic Making the World Hungrier
The pandemic is deepening food insecurity throughout the developing world, raising the prospect of millions of hungry people in crisis, global food experts are warning. Prices have gone up nearly a third from last year, with sugar up 60% and corn up 67%, according to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization. Combined with income losses due to the pandemic, the effect is devastating. Read More

Source: FoodProcessing.com E-news
USDA Seeks Canned, Frozen Vegetables for School Lunch Program
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is accepting offers for canned and frozen vegetables for its school lunch program and other food assistance programs. Offers are being accepted from May 14 through 1 p.m. CT May 28. Bids selected will be for delivery between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2022.

Source: ProduceProcessing.net

General Mills Seeks to Spur Growth with New C-Suite Roles

General Mills is expanding its Accelerate growth strategy with a restructuring that includes two newly created positions: chief strategy and growth officer, and chief transformation and enterprise services officer, to be filled by Dana McNabb and John Church, respectively. The company is also planning to combat inflationary pressures with a continued emphasis on productivity savings and pricing, said CEO Jeffrey Harmening.

Ocean Spray to Debut Recyclable Pouch Packaging

Ocean Spray Cranberries and flexible packaging manufacturer Bryce Corp. have developed a recycling solution for Ocean Spray Craisins' packaging that will roll out in club channels this year. The standup pouches will feature Bryce Corp.'s recyclable polyethylene film technology, making them eligible for plastic film drop-off sites located at retailers.

USDA to Purchase $159.4 Million in Nutritious Consumer-Ready Seafood for More Food Assistance Programs

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced it will purchase up to $159.4 million in domestically produced seafood, fruits, legumes, and nuts for distribution to a variety of domestic food assistance programs, including charitable institutions. These purchases are being made utilizing funds under the authority of Section 32 of the Agricultural Adjustment Act (Pub. L. 74-320), as amended (Section 32). This is one of many actions USDA is taking to address the disruptions in the food system supply chain and worsened food insecurity resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. “The impacts of COVID-19 reverberated from our farms to our oceans,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. Read More

Source: Michael Best Strategies
WI Ag Economists Say Pandemic Could Increase Farmers' Share of Average Food Dollar.

Farmers’ share of the average U.S. food dollar increased slightly, according to the latest federal data. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service tracks annual spending by consumers on food and how much is captured by each portion of the food supply chain. The agency recently released data for 2019. The food service industry continues to claim a growing portion of the average food dollar, increasing by 3 percent to hit 38.5 cents in 2019. Read More

Source: WI Public Radio
Your financial support is what allows us to provide opportunities for students' continuing education in the industry, and makes this annual event an overall success!
Summit Reception Sponsor
Lakeside Foods

Gold Sponsor
Lyco Manufacturing Company

19th Hole Sponsor
Seneca Foods Corporation

Silver Sponsors
Bush Brothers & Company
Crown Cork & Seal
Silgan Containers Manufacturing Corporation

Scholarship Hole Sponsors
Seneca Foods Corporation
Trivium Packaging

Bronze Sponsors
Alliant Energy
Anderson Chemical Company
Bonduelle USA
Chippewa Valley Bean Company
Hydrite Chemical
Oxbo International
Syngenta Vegetable Seeds
Lunch Sponsors
JP Cullen
ProEx Food

Hole Sponsors
CD Smith Construction
Crites Seed
Ellingson Companies
Gallatin Valley Seed
Harris Moran Seed Company
JJ Keller
Lubriplate Lubricants
M3 Insurance
Nelson-Jameson, Inc.
Pearl Engineering
Plainfield Trucking
Seminis Vegetable Seeds
Summit Refrigeration Group
Superior Transport & Logistics
Syngenta Vegetable Seeds
Verder, Inc.

JP Cullen
Nelson-Jameson, Inc.
Summit Refrigeration Group
Seminis Vegetable Seeds

Would you like to receive MWFPA Freight Updates?

Contact Jason Culotta to be added to the distribution list.
Mark Your Calendar
October 7 - Sporting Clays Classic, Milford Hills, Johnson Creek, WI (Registration will open in late August)

November 30-December 2 - Annual Convention & Processing Crops Conference, Kalahari Convention Center, Wisconsin Dells (Exhibitor Registration Opens July 1)