A new report released by the Food Chain Workers Alliance, for the first time, looks at wages and working conditions of workers across the entire food chain - a sector that employs 20 million people in the U.S., comprising one-sixth of the nation's workforce.

"THE HANDS THAT FEED US: Challenges and Opportunities for Workers Along the Food Chain" is based on nearly 700 surveys and interviews with workers and employers in food production, processing, distribution, retail and service, which collectively sell over $1.8 trillion dollars in goods and services annually, accounting for over 13 percent of the nation's Gross Domestic Product.

According to the new report, there are some good jobs in the food system (13.5% of workers surveyed earn livable wages), but the vast majority are incredibly low-wage, with little or no access to paid sick days and health benefits, with dire consequences for consumers. More than 86 percent of workers reported earning subminimum, poverty, and low wages, resulting in a sad irony: food workers face higher levels of food insecurity, or the inability to afford to eat, than the rest of the U.S. workforce.

"Most people don't think about the millions of food system workers who make it possible for us to shop in grocery stores or eat in restaurants," says Joann Lo, Executive Director of the Food Chain Workers Alliance.

The new report examines the five core food occupations and industries in the food system: farmworkers (production), slaughterhouse and other processing facilities workers (processing), warehouse workers (distribution), grocery store workers (retail), and restaurant and food service workers (service). It examines how corporate consolidation throughout the food chain has created universal impacts on workers in terms of low wages, small to midsize employers in terms of unfair competition, and consumers in terms of food quality and diversity.

There are answers: There is tremendous potential to engage consumers, small-to-midsize employers and workers to change the food system for all. For starters policymakers can increase the minimum wage and guarantee workers health benefits and the right to organize. Consumers can support businesses that are providing livable wages and benefits, and speak out against those that are not. Employers can increase wages and benefits; adopt systematic and fair hiring and promotion practices; and adopt benefits, such as paid sick days, that would allow employees to care for themselves and their families.

For more information about the report, please visit foodchainworkers.org
The Eli's Cheesecake Company of Chicago, a family owned business dedicated to baking the highest quality, all natural dairy cheesecakes and desserts as well as supporting community, local farmers and small businesses, is proud to feature Eli’s Hot Chocolate Cheesecake made with Salted Caramel for foodservice Eli's has transformed the most decadent cup of hot chocolate into a dessert like no other. The custom blend of milk and dark chocolate, combined with a layer of salted caramel mousse, makes Eli's Hot Chocolate Cheesecake an irresistible symphony of light and dark... sweet and salty. 9”/2 pack/ 14 cut

For more information, visit www.elicheesecake.com.
The Soyfoods Council website provides practical information for foodservice operators, educators and others who want to learn how soyfoods can help them solve some of today’s menu challenges. Visit the website at www.thesoyfoodscouncil.com to find these resources, and more.
  • The Soyfoods 101 Curriculum, available in English and Spanish, can walk employees through a list of soyfoods, their characteristics and their culinary applications. Recipes are included. The curriculum was prepared for the Soyfoods Council by Christopher Koetke, CCE, CEC, Dean of The School of Culinary Arts at Kendall College, Chicago.
  • A variety of informative videos on the Soyfoods Council website cover a range of topics such as Edamame, Textured Soy Protein, How to Make Your Own Soymilk, Nutrition Education and more. These videos offer busy foodservice operators simple tips and recipe suggestions for cooking with soyfoods.
  • Free brochures, including Soyfoods and Your Health With Professional Resources, provide a quick way to answer questions about soyfoods and their nutrition benefits.
The Edamame Facts brochure offers preparation tips and nutrition facts that help explain the popularity of this fresh soybean that is high in protein and fiber and contains no cholesterol. You’ll also be able to access globally inspired edamame recipes on the Soyfoods Council website, ranging from Edamame Mango Relish to Edamame Hummus.

For more information, recipes and resources from The Soyfoods Council, visit the website at www.thesoyfoodscouncil.com.
Master-Bilt, manufacturer of a full line of premier commercial refrigeration systems, announces the opening of new warehouses in Long Beach, California and Middlesex, New Jersey. The new Long Beach warehouse is perfectly situated to maximize convenience for the foodservice industry in California, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico. The New Jersey location will serve customers in the Northeast. Due to overwhelming response of the Fusion line, Master-Bilt will stock only Fusion models in these two locations. The New Albany, Mississippi warehouse will continue to stock all models for distribution around the nation.

“Master-Bilt is committed to providing outstanding customer service,” says Vice President of Sales and Marketing Bill Huffman, “and these new facilities will improve response time and service for customers in the respective regions.”

Visit www.master-bilt.com/products/energy_saver.htm for more information.
The KRAFT YES Pack, an innovative and eco-friendly dressings package for the foodservice industry, has been awarded the coveted DuPont Packaging Award for innovation. The groundbreaking packaging design by KRAFT is designed to help operators manage costs and improve back-of-house efficiencies by conserving energy and raw materials during the production process. A recent winner of the 2012 National Restaurant Association Food and Beverage Product Innovation Award, the YES Pack stands for Yield, Ease and Sustainability.

"The DuPont Awards for Packaging Innovation celebrates how collaborating throughout the value chain can bring cost-effective innovation to the market in a way that matters to consumers," said Shanna Moore, global director sustainable packaging, DuPont Packaging & Industrial Polymers.

The YES Pack by KRAFT earned a silver award in the category of Innovation. The KRAFT YES Pack can be recycled, but if thrown away its waste takes up 50% less landfill space. Compared with the typical rigid gallon dressing jug, in production the YES Pack is made with:
  • 50% less energy
  • 60% less plastic
  • 70% fewer CO2 emissions from transportation.
YES Pack provides foodservice operators with the same delicious KRAFT Dressings that customers rely on in new, more efficient packaging. Available in a 2/1-gallon format, the YES Pack allows operators to stock a greater variety of flavors with a smaller investment.

For more information about the YES Pack, visit kraftyespack.com. .
Two new scientific papers recently published in Nutrition Today and the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry suggest that Concord grapes may support healthy circulation to promote cardiovascular and cognitive health in certain populations. These reports add to the growing body of evidence for the role of Concord grapes and grape juice in healthy lifestyles. Welch's is committed to supporting independent research on Concord grape juice and provided support for these studies.
A new literature review e-published on May 31, 2012 by Nutrition Today emphasizes the role grapes and grape products can play in supporting health.  In particular, the review authors suggest that red/purple grapes and grape juice can help support a healthy heart. The review concludes that enjoying red/purple grapes and grape juice, including Concord grape juice, each day can support cardiovascular health by providing vascular benefits (endothelial function) to promote healthy circulation.
"Grapes and grape juice are smart additions to a healthy lifestyle," said Dr. Maria Luz Fernandez, Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Connecticut and one of the study authors. "The benefits of red/purple grapes can be enjoyed by drinking 100% grape juice made with Concord grapes, or by conveniently squeezing grapes or grape juice into easy and delicious recipes."
The second recently published scientific paper, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, further suggests Concord grape juice may offer certain cognitive health benefits.  This study, conducted by Robert Krikorian, Ph.D. and colleagues at the University of Cincinnati, builds on earlier research showing that Concord grape juice has a positive impact on memory in older adults with early cognitive decline.  In particular, these new findings indicate that daily consumption of Concord grape juice can benefit cognitive function in older adults with mild memory loss.
For more information, visit the Grape Science Center at grapescience.com.