Get Adobe Flash player

Retailers Finding Greater Worldwide Selection of Imported Olive Oils

shutterstock_210094447 (2)By Dave Bernard

If you peruse the aisles of Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s or sit down to dinner at many a gourmet restaurant, that delicious extra-virgin olive oil you are either buying, dipping into or enjoying on flakes of halibut quite likely came from Italy or Spain. With the countries combining to ship more than two thirds of all U.S. EVOO imports, gourmet chefs and home cooks have plenty of high-quality and healthful oils to choose from when calling on these traditional powerhouses.

Look closely though, and among the elegant bottles of various sizes filling the olive oil section at your local grocery store, you will spot a 33.8-ounce can from another Mediterranean country that has got a few interesting oils of its own: Tunisia. Tunisia and nearby Morocco now both track in the top 10 producing countries for U.S.-sold EVOO.

“Our customers just love the taste of the Moroccan,” said Darya Suddreth President of Carolinas-based The Olive Shoppe stores, commenting on the growing popularity of olive oils from this often neglected Mediterranean locale. At The Olive Shoppe, the Moroccan EVOO ($16.95 for 375 milliliters) sells most briskly, better even than the company’s popular blend from Italy’s renowned EVOO-producing Umbria region. The Moroccan green olive oil, sold under private label like all of the company’s oils, contains mild notes of green fruit that partner with smooth and buttery notes of ripe olive, finishing with hints of creaminess and a slight peppering at the back of the throat.

You do not need to hug the Mediterranean, however, to find high-quality EVOO offerings. Six thousand miles and an equator line away, Chile has been steadily building a reputation with its award-winning mild and fruity oils. No less than 13 of the country’s EVOO producers earned outstanding scores in the prestigious Flos Olei olive oil guide for 2012. Chile (the eighth leading U.S. supplier) has a couple olive oil-producing neighbors of its own, with Argentina (fifth) and newly minted International Olive Council member Uruguay also turning out flavorful award-winning oils.

While Italy and Spain continue to dominate the U.S. market, accounting for a combined 67 percent share of 2013 U.S. olive oil sales, this actually marked a 9-point drop from the previous four-year average. Meanwhile, “second tier” producers from South America and the Mediterranean, including previously mentioned Tunisia and Morocco, but also Turkey, Lebanon and others, have been gradually bottling their way into the picture.

Whether it’s the mild and fruity Chilean oils, the bold and robust Australian products or the sought after gourmet oils from Turkey or Argentina, American consumers are expanding their olive oil palates and finding it increasingly easy to do so, simply by stopping at their favorite local gourmet shop.

“What’s happening in the food world in general is that, with the Food Network and all of those things that have grown within the last decade, people are cooking more at home, and they’re returning to whole natural food and high-quality ingredients,” said Eryn Balch, Executive Vice President of the North American Olive Oil Association. “And with extra-virgin olive oil in particular, people are starting to understand that it’s really very much like wine. You can have different extra-virgin olive oil from different regions, from different types of olives, or different types of olives blended together, just like wine, where you get this huge range of flavors and huge range of options – everything from the store brand stuff up to small-estate, high-quality, high-priced options.”

While second-tier producers in the Southern Hemisphere face challenges breaking into a U.S. market long dominated by Italy and Spain, these relatively young suppliers have some advantages as well, the biggest of which is, quite simply, the sun. With their opposing season harvest time, Southern Hemisphere countries like Chile, Argentina, South African and Australia offer fresh product while heavy producers like Spain and Italy are off-season.

“We’ve got amazing Mediterranean growing conditions here, and we’re producing our oils six months after the equivalent oils in the Northern Hemisphere,” said Tim Smith, Sales and Marketing Director of Cobram Estate, an award-winning Australian producer that this year debuted its premium oils to U.S. consumers. From early July through December, consumers seeking the absolute freshest olive oil can look to Southern Hemisphere producers, and companies like Cobram are making it easy to do so. Cobram has been a top performer two years running at the prestigious New York International Olive Oil Competition, winning five gold medals, including two Best in Class oils in this year’s competition. The company plans to offer U.S. consumers even fresher oil when it begins growing olives and producing oil in a new California operation that is in its early stages. Cobram Estate’s selection of premium oils have U.S. suggested retail prices of $9 to $50, with its 2014 Best in Class Première Extra Virgin Olive Oil selling for $12 for 375 milliliters and its Best in Class Reserve Hojiblanca Extra Virgin Olive Oil selling for $20 to $25 for 500 milliliters.

For some of the more successful second tier producing countries, the key to finding that success has been in building awareness and education among U.S. consumers. Tunisian olive oil, for instance, has been served on American tables virtually since European oil imports began, although not too many consumers knew it, since oils from Tunisia, the world’s second largest net exporter, were branded under Italian and other countries’ labels. One northern Tunisian company has single-handedly changed that over the last two and a half years, however. CHO gave the country its first branded olive oils and has quickly become a factor in the U.S. market, with the company’s gourmet EVOO and organic EVOO appearing in about 4,000 U.S. retailers, a figure that is growing at 100 percent annually.

“We started in a market where consumers did not know much about Tunisian olive oil,” said Wajih Rekik, CEO of CHO America, whose Terra Delyssa EVOO and organic EVOO brand boasts gold medal recognition from Israel’s prestigious international Terraolivo competition and Best in Show accolades from Biofach Germany, the world’s largest organic food and agriculture show. “But the smooth, fresh flavor of our oils are perfect for everyday use,” Rekik continued. “They don’t overpower any other ingredients when cooking, and they can be used in salads and for dipping.” Operating with a completely in-house business model that accounts for its products from tree to retail shelf (CHO even maintains its own importing offices in the United States and other countries), the company has gone from 0 to 4,000 stores in quick fashion. CHO olive oils retail in the United States from $2.99 for 8.5 ounces to $24.99 for 101 ounces.

With small and large global producers continuing to churn out award-winning oils and making their way onto U.S. gourmet market shelves, the outlook is for future growth of such imports as Americans gain both knowledge of and desire for the highest-quality and healthiest extra-virgin olive oil.

Moonstruck Meadery Produces Best Mead in the World According to Media Organization

Moonstruck Meadery MedalsMead, the alcoholic beverage made from honey, may be the world’s oldest fermented drink. The potable is now creating a buzz throughout the world. And, according to the World Association of Wine Writers and Journalists, the United States’ Moonstruck Meadery produces the best mead in the world. The organization named the company’s Capsumel pepper mead as number one among the 100 best meads in the world.

Every year, the WAWWJ classifies wines and wineries that participate in different wine contests held around the world. Their products are evaluated anonymously by the best specialists. Moonstruck Meadery came in first among meads for its unique pepper mead, Capsumel. Capsumel has traveled the world from the United States to competitions in Argentina, Israel and Ukraine. Each competition brought the unique beverage double gold and gold awards.

Capsumel has a unique taste and the nose of a fresh pepper garden with a harmonious blend of serrano, jalapeño and Anaheim peppers. The company is very grateful to be recognized as the world’s first place mead from professional judges around the world.

“We have a passion about mead, and Capsumel is a direct result of that,” said Brian Schlueter, owner of Moonstruck Meadery. “Mead is exploding in popularity. It’s truly the new delicious flavor people are looking for. One taste is all it takes.”

According to Schlueter, mead production has an all-around positive impact on the economy and the environment. “It directly helps the bees, the farmers, the foods we eat,” he said. “We are very grateful to produce mead and [are] looking forward to expanding our distribution so that others may enjoy this unique beverage from long ago.”

Chris Webber, President of the American Mead Makers Association, is excited for the growth he sees in terms of the overall popularity of mead among U.S. consumers. “The American mead industry is growing by leaps and bounds, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds,” he said.

For more information on Nebraska-based Moonstruck Meadery, visit www.moonstruckmead.com.

Tortuga Rum Cake Company Brings Caribbean Flair to U.S. Gourmet Market Shelves

TortugaRumCake1-SBBy Dave Bernard

If you are one of the 20 million tourists that visit the Caribbean each year, you might have had the chance, after dinner and a stroll along the beachfront in Nassau or Montego Bay, to taste a delightful dessert that does big business in the islands not to mention the United States, but that does it with a homemade just-out-of-the-oven flair: Tortuga Rum Cakes.

Some 30 years after founder Capt. Robert Hamaty took a secret family recipe and set out to share it with the world, the Tortuga Rum Cake Company ships seven varieties of rum cakes in brightly colored hexagonal boxes to 70 countries and generates high-volume sales through the travel retail channel. The cakes are sold in the United States seasonally in large grocery and specialty food retailers.

“There’s a romanticism associated with Tortuga Rum Cake. It’s something that customers find to be rare and unique,” said Monique Hamaty-Simmonds, Tortuga’s Chief Marketing Officer and daughter of the company’s founder

While Tortuga receives virtual sackfuls of customer emails from U.S. tourists to the Caribbean, they often do not hear from these visitors until they arrive back home. Hamaty-Simmonds quotes some typical customer responses: “Wow, I can’t believe my eyes, I had that while in Jamaica!” and “It’s the best cake I have ever had.”

TortugaRumCake2-SBTortuga’s cakes come in sizes ranging from 4 to 33 ounces and in seven different flavors: Golden Original, Chocolate Rum, Coconut Rum, Blue Mountain Coffee Rum, Banana Rum, Key Lime Rum and Pineapple Rum. The 4-ounce cakes are also available in six-packs, and the 16-ounce size is also available in cases of nine cakes. Tortuga also offers attractive shipper display cases to retailers as well.

The company boasts a variety of offerings beyond its namesake cakes, offering gourmet coffees, rum balls, candies and fudge, as well as pepper jelly and a line of seven cooking sauces. Based in the Cayman Islands, Tortuga employs 100 workers across all units and has a staff of 12 in the United States, with offices in Miami. The company estimates it will grow 10 percent over the next two years.

In surveying the U.S. gourmet food industry, Hamaty-Simmonds sees a lot of the family business in the U.S. market. “There are so many entrepreneurs in the industry, people with the next big gourmet product, someone looking to share their secret family recipe just like our company has done,” she said. “I see continued industry growth, and that will mean more shelf space for specialty and gourmet foods in the larger grocery chains across the U.S.”

For more information on Tortuga Rum Cake Company, visit the company online at www.tortugarumcakes.com.

American Appetite for Organic Products Breaks through $35 Billion Mark

American consumers have not had their fill of organic products yet. In fact, sales of organic products in the United States jumped to $35.1 billion in 2013, up 11.5 percent from the previous year’s $31.5 billion and the fastest growth rate in five years. This is according to the latest survey on the organic industry from the Organic Trade Association.

Americans’ hunger for organic products is not expected to ease any time soon. The OTA survey projects that growth rates over the next two years will at least keep pace with the 2013 clip and even slightly exceed it.

“The U.S. organic market is experiencing strong expansion, with organic food and farming continuing to gain in popularity,” said Laura Batcha, Executive Director and CEO of OTA. “Consumers are making the correlation between what we eat and our health, and that knowledge is spurring heightened consumer interest in organic products.”

According to the survey, organic food sales in 2013, at $32.3 billion, accounted for roughly 92 percent of overall organic sales. Non-food organic products, including flowers, fiber, household products and pet food, are currently a very small part of the total organic market, but are making quick in-roads. Sales of non-food organic products – at almost $2.8 billion – have jumped nearly eight-fold since 2002 and have almost doubled in market share.

A niche industry in the huge food sector just a decade ago, consumer purchases of organic food first broke through the $30 billion mark in 2012 and now account for more than 4 percent of the $760 billion annual food sales in the United States. More telling, the growth rate of organic food sales, which has averaged almost 10 percent every year since 2010, has dwarfed the average annual growth of just over 3 percent in total food sales during that same period.

A product breakdown of the organic food sector shows that the fruit and vegetable category continues to lead the sector with $11.6 billion in sales, up 15 percent. With more than 10 percent of the fruits and vegetables sold in the United States now organic, the $1.5 billion in new sales of organic fruits and vegetable represented 46 percent of the organic sector’s $3.3 billion in new dollars.

The relatively small organic condiments category posted the strongest growth, at 17 percent, to reach sales of $830 million. Also showing double-digit growth were the organic snack food sector (up 15 percent to $1.7 billion), organic bread and grains (up 12 percent to $3.8 billion), organic meat, poultry and fish (up 11 percent to $675 million) and the rapidly expanding organic packaged and prepared food sector (up 10 percent to $4.8 billion).

Just two categories of the organic food sector showed single-digit growth rates. The $4.9 billion dairy sector grew by 8 percent, and sales of organic beverages slowed to a 5 percent growth rate to around $4 billion.

U.S. Breweries are Booming According to Census Bureau; Wine, Distilled Liquor Industries Also Up

The number of U.S. breweries more than doubled from 398 to 869 between 2007 and 2012, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released from the 2012 Economic Census Industry Series. The breweries industry reported $28.3 billion in shipments in 2012, an increase of nearly 33.6 percent since 2007.

Employment in the breweries industry also climbed over the five-year span, rising to 26,077 employees in 2012, up by 3,825 or 17.2 percent from 22,252 employed in the industry in 2007. Still, while overall employment within the brewing industry grew, the average number of employees per brewery decreased sharply from 56 in 2007 to 30 in 2012, a possible indication of the growth of smaller craft breweries within the larger American brewing landscape.

The economic census data also reveals that beer shipments in kegs have grown substantially but still represent just a fraction of overall beer shipments. Specifically, beer shipments in barrels and kegs rose 88.2 percent to $2.4 billion in 2012. However, kegs represented just 8.6 percent of all beer shipments, up from 6.1 percent in 2007.

The newly released economic census data also detailed growth within the American wine and distilled liquors industries. Data shows that the wineries industry employed 37,602 people in 2012, up from 33,390 people in 2007. Average payroll per employee increased 10.7 percent during this period.

Total product shipments of wineries was fairly evenly split between red and white wine: 31.6 percent red wine, 29.2 percent white wine. Meanwhile, rosé grape and other fruit and berry wines accounted for 2.6 percent of total shipments.

Sales of distilled liquor increased 29.9 percent from 2007 to 2012, outpacing the increases observed in wine sales (16.5 percent increase) and beer sales (9.6 percent increase) during the same period. Wine and distilled alcoholic beverage merchant wholesalers reported $78.3 billion in sales, a 23.6 percent increase from 2007 to 2012. By comparison, beer and ale merchant wholesalers reported sales of $57.7 billion in 2012, up 10.7 percent.

Future 2012 Economic Census Industry Series reports will be released through February 2015. For more information on these future releases or to see which industries’ data have been released already, see http://business.census.gov.

Celebrate the Craft of American Cheesemaking at New York’s Saxelby Cheesemongers

SaxelbyCheesemongers1-RNBy Lucas Witman

For those venturing into the burgeoning world of American farmstead cheeses there is probably no better point of entry than New York’s Saxelby Cheesemongers, and there is perhaps no better tour guide than the store’s founder and namesake Anne Saxelby. Saxelby has dedicated her career to promoting the craft of American cheesemaking, and at her flagship cheese shop in Manhattan’s Essex Market, hungry shoppers can indulge in some of the best dairy products the northeastern United States has to offer.

Saxelby began her career as an art student at New York University, but it was during an early employment opportunity at New York’s most celebrated cheesemonger Murray’s Cheese that she fell in love with the dairy staple. Her stint at Murray’s led her to an internship at Cato Corner Farm, a small dairy and artisan cheese producer in Colchester, Connecticut, where she began to open her eyes to the immense world of American farmstead cheeses. From there, Saxelby began traveling around the United States and eventually Europe, visiting small family dairy farms and educating herself about the artisan cheesemaking process.

From the beginning of her career, Saxelby knew that she wanted to open her own business, but it took her a while to find her niche within the specialty food landscape. While traveling in Paris, she became acquainted with Fromagerie Laurent Dubois, a gourmet store specializing only in artisan cheeses. It occurred to her that there was no equivalent to this shop in New York City. “In New York, you find all these specialty food stores, but there was nobody just focused on cheese and dairy,” she said. “Cheese is where my expertise is. I’m not an expert on olive oil. I’m not an expert on vinegar. I’m not an expert on the best olive or cured meat selection. So this is perfect for me.”

In 2006, Saxelby first opened her eponymous shop in the eclectic Essex Market on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The modest shop occupies a mere 150 square feet and includes a long counter, finishing at a simple 3-foot cheese case. A walk-in refrigerator rounds out the location, where shoppers can pick up milk, cream, butter and other dairy staples. Saxelby in part credits the small size of the shop with its continued success. “It allows us to really move through products and rotate things and change product constantly,” she said.

The business philosophy behind Saxelby Cheesemongers is simple: the promotion of American farmstead cheeses produced at small, independent dairy farms in the American Northeast. “American farmstead is not only delicious, but it is made locally, and it is about supporting local farmers,” Saxelby said. “The goal was then as it is today to be a bridge between the farm and the person eating the cheese.”

Saxelby offers customers a carefully curated selection of artisan cheeses produced by farmers who she knows by name at farms she and her staff have visited themselves. Although always looking to learn about new farmers and bring her customers something fresh, Saxelby does admit to having a few favorite cheesemakers. She praised The Cellars at Jasper Hill for its consistent commitment to producing great cheeses. Of West Cornwall, Vermont-based Twig Farm, she says, “They are unparalleled in terms of flavor and quality and nuance.” She also expressed particular admiration for Cazenovia, New York’s Meadowood Farms.

When it comes to the particular cheeses that are most popular among Saxelby Cheesemongers’ customers, it can be difficult to pin down a specific favorite, as the selection is constantly in flux. However, there are a few standouts Saxelby points out as particularly in demand. The Ledyard from Meadowood Farms is a current top seller – a soft-ripened sheep’s milk cheese wrapped in grape leaves that have been soaked in local beer. Woodcock Farm’s Summer Snow, a sheep’s milk camembert-style cheese, is another favorite. And Cabot Clothbound Cheddar form the Cellars at Jasper Hill is a perpetual bestseller.

SaxelbyCheesemongers2-RNAt Saxelby Cheesemongers, Anne Saxelby attempts to create a unique shopping experience that lures cheese aficionados and beginners alike away from the supermarket cheese case and into this dedicated space where she can offer them something that they simply cannot get anywhere else. “We’re really fun. Everyone that works at Saxelby, we have a really distinct passion for these cheeses. The experience is going to be a lot different from going to a grocery store. We are not intimidating, but try to educate through taste,” she said.

“We also have a selection of things you’re probably not going to find at the grocery store. The quality of the cheese we have is amazing, because we are cut-to-order, and we move through our inventory really quickly,” Saxelby added.

In addition, Saxelby and her staff pride themselves on the personal service they are able to provide, guiding the customer to the particular cheese of their dreams. “We are a cut-and-wrap cheese counter. Nothing is pre-cut. Nothing is pre-packaged. When a customer comes up to the counter, we play‘cheese detective’ and try to snuff out what they are looking for,” she said. “We give as many samples as people may want … We really just try to ask questions and see what people are looking for.”

With the holiday season approaching, Saxelby invites holiday shoppers to come into her shop to pick out the perfect cheese selection for a cocktail party or holiday get-together. And for those traveling home to spend the season with family, Saxelby Cheesemongers offers shoppers a special selection that is sure to surprise and delight loved ones.

For Saxelby, American farmstead cheese is a personal passion that extends well beyond her professional commitments and into her basic philosophies about life. And this commitment to our country’s vast cheese landscape shows itself in the quality of products that Saxelby Cheesemongers offers, as well as in the shop’s quality of service.

“For me, the pleasure of eating artisan cheese is just incredible. Once you’ve had a really wonderful piece of cheese, it changes your outlook on things in general,” said Saxelby. “Cheese is a living thing and should be treated as such. We’re entrusted with these really wonderful things that the cheesemakers have made, and it almost feels sacred in a way.”

Natural Grocers Opens in Golden, Colorado

 Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, Inc. is opening its 32nd Colorado location in Golden on October 21. 

“Natural Grocers is honored to open a new location in the Golden community,” Kemper Isely, Co-president of Natural Grocers. “As a Colorado company approaching our 60th anniversary, we view every new Colorado store as a celebration of making healthy living more accessible and affordable for everyone.”

Shoppers in the Golden area may wonder how a grocery store can change people’s lives. “It’s because we provide the resources that people need to live a life of optimum health and vitality with natural products and honest labels,” Isely explained.

Golden’s new store takes over the location of the former Golden Bowl, which was also a Colorado-owned company that opened the same year as Natural Grocers in 1955. Many elements of the bowling alley will live through in the grocery store, including the lanes, which were refurbished into tables, and a garage door that will open to create an open air produce area.

Fairway Market Names Dorothy Carlow As CMO

Fairway Group Holdings Corp. has named Dorothy Carlow as its new Chief Merchandising Officer, effective Monday, November 3Carlow will lead the merchandising team and the company’s buying and sales strategies. She will also be working with the marketing department to amplify and develop programs and promotions that articulate and bring to life Fairway’s very unique value proposition.

“Dorothy has experience in building innovative business plans to propel improved efficiency and sales,” said Jack Murphy, Chief Executive Office of Fairway.  “Over her career, she has demonstrated talent for improving profitability through focused initiatives that standardize merchandising, purchasing, and ordering processes across a multi-state grocery store fleet.”

Carlow is extremely excited to join the Fairway team, noting that, “I look forward to working with all the people I have met.”  She added, “Fairway is an iconic New York brand with huge growth potential – one that I am excited to be a part of.  The food experience is very much like New York – it is memorable.”

Carlow comes to Fairway from her most recent position as Chief Merchandising Officer of Earth Fare, a North Carolina based specialty supermarket chain, where she led merchandising, marketing, transportation, and logistics.

At Fairway, she will report directly to Jack Murphy, Chief Executive Officer.

Spooky Gourmet Cocktail Mixes

Spooky Cocktail Mixers are made using high quality natural ingredients that deliver a truly extraordinary fresh, balanced taste with no high fructose corn syrup, no MSG, no allergens, and are gluten-free.

Spooky Gourmet Cocktail Mixes include a Horseradish Bloody Mary that will scare your taste buds and put your mouth into pure delight with its 30 natural ingredients. It is brimming with chunks of spice and the great taste of horseradish. Friendly Bloody Mary is made to delight your taste buds without the horseradish, but with 29 other ingredients providing an amazing and complex big bold flavor. Blue Agave Nectar Margarita delivers a unique and exceptional flavor, not too tart and not too sweet. It gives you smooth refreshing perfection in a glass. Mojito features a light minty flavor with real lime juice and sweetened with just the right amount of pure natural sugar making a balanced, refreshing flavor. Rum Runner  is a unique and fresh blend of natural tropical fruit flavors.

Sweet & Sour is a blend of high quality natural ingredients creating the ideal sweet and sour mix that is fresh tasting and perfectly balanced. Strawberry Daiquiri is a wonderful blend of natural ingredients that makes an excellent strawberry daiquiri, margarita or other creations. It delivers a freshly made taste and is made with real strawberries and naturally sweetened with real sugar. Pina Colada is a refreshing blend of natural flavors that is rich, creamy and perfectly balanced. It’s made with real pineapple, coconut and naturally sweetened. Spooky’s Lime Juice is naturally sweetened and the flavored lime juice delivers the fresh taste crucial to making a perfect cocktail. It’s also great for cooking.

Spooky Gourmet Cocktail Mixes come in 32-ounce bottles. 1.75 liter bottles, 1 gallon bottle and 3- and 5-gallon bag-in-box. They can be found at foodservice and beverage retailers and distributors, grocery and discount retailers, food and beverage catalogs, specialty retailers or online at www.spookybeverages.com

Feeding America Releases New Findings From Landmark Hunger Report

Feeding America, the nation’s largest provider of charitable food assistance to low-income Americans, today announced additional findings from its landmark report, Hunger in America 2014.

The study is the largest and most comprehensive study of people seeking charitable food assistance in the United States ever conducted.

Among the findings of the study:

  • 40 percent of households report that, in the past year, they have watered down food or drinks to make them last longer, in an effort to have enough food to feed everyone in the home. This rate rises to 45 percent among households with children in the home.
  •  Sixty-nine percent of households report choosing between paying for utilities and paying for food in the past year. Thirty-four percent report making this choice every month. This is a particularly tough choice to make in the midst of harsh, cold winters, especially in homes that include seniors and children.
  • Nearly 5 million households not currently enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) may qualify for the program based on their reported household income.
  • Among the nearly 55 percent of households who receive SNAP benefits, a fifth exhaust their full month’s benefit within a week.
  • Only 5 percent of the households served by Feeding America are homeless.
  • 57 percent of households report choosing between paying their housing costs and buying food in the past year. 27 percent report making this choice every month.
  • Nearly a quarter (24 percent) of agencies served by Feeding America report reductions in services in the past year, totaling 11,000 agencies that have needed to cut they hours they operate, lay off staff, or limit the area they can serve.
  • An estimated 28 percent of feeding programs (such as food pantries and meal programs) report having less food available than needed to meet client needs.

More than 60,000 people confidentially answered questions about their personal circumstances for the study.

The study represents findings from 200 Feeding America food banks, which annually provide more than 3 billion meals to people facing hunger through 58,000 food pantries, kitchens, and meal service programs.

Initial findings released in August reported that, at some point in the year, more than 46 million people are currently relying on food assistance from an agency served by Feeding America, including 12 million children and 7 million seniors.