More Supply Chain News
Image Source: Whole Foods Market
Back in April, the USDA tested a pilot program making it easier for food stamp recipients to buy groceries online during the pandemic. Now 1.1 million households use the service each month, a boon to everyone adhering to social distancing guidelines. It's also been a huge payday for e-commerce giants Amazon and Walmart, the only two grocery retailers to participate in the program in most states. Given that food stamp recipients spent a whopping $55 billion on groceries in 2019, the USDA's pilot program has taken a big bite out of revenue at regional and local grocery stores. Some market analysts say that's a solid reason to end the program when the pandemic ends.
Chicken processing giant Pilgrim’s Pride agreed to pay a $110.5 million penalty for curtailing competition in the poultry market. The agreement is among the first results in a long-running government investigation, as nearly 40 lawsuits have been filed by grocers, restaurants and others. Colorado-based Pilgrim's Pride is a division of meatpacker JBS USA and processes about one out of every five chickens in the US market.
Image Source: Angus Mordant / Bloomberg News
Ground beef and pork loin prices have returned to pre-pandemic levels. Prime rib and chicken wings are even cheaper than before the pandemic began. In September, prime rib sold for $7.15 a pound, down more than 11% since the beginning of the year. New York strip prices are about 8% lower, and beef brisket prices have fallen nearly 20%. U.S. Department of Agriculture figures show that meat processing has not only resumed but is now largely exceeding year-over-year levels. Despite production increases, Tyson Foods estimates that about 1 million cattle and 3 million hogs remain backed up on U.S. feedlots and farms due to prior slaughterhouse shutdowns.
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Two rustlers in Alberta presented themselves as truck drivers for a fake company called "Transport Pascal Charland" and made off with nearly a quarter of a million dollars worth of beef from a JBS meatpacking plant. Alberta police are searching for the bandits and say that the same fake documentation was also used to steal seven hot tubs in a separate heist.