14 Jun 2018

Industry Roundup: Future of the Restaurant Industry, NRA 2018, Shrimp Supply Boom and McDonald’s Reels it In

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Each month, we recap developments in the seafood industry to keep you up-to-date on trending topics and the latest news.

NRA Pushing for Industry Apprenticeships

Things are shifting in the restaurant industry, in part, because of political, social and technology shifts. The National Restaurant Association is changing their own approach to adapt to these changes. NRA CEO Dawn Sweeney talks about these shifts on Restaurant.org. She explains how the organization is training members to use new mobile and online ordering technology, but the most notable initiative is Sweeney’s involvement with the White House’s Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion.

Thanks to the efforts of this task force, the Department of Labor has agreed to award a nearly $2 million grant to place the next generation of restaurant employees in paid apprenticeships. The hope is this will reduce turnover and increase the level of skill in the workforce throughout the industry.

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Seafood at NRA 2018

Even more news from the National Restaurant Association came out of their 99th annual Restaurant Show. And seafood grabbed many of the headlines. Not only seafood but sustainable seafood. Barton Seaver, author of For Cod and Country: Simple, Delicious, Sustainable Cooking presented on the topic and followed it up with a cooking demonstration. With 65,000 foodservice professionals in attendance at the Restaurant Show, this presentation was a major step in advancing the sustainable seafood cause. Seaver also announced he was leaving his post as Director of the Sustainable Seafood and Health Initiative at the Harvard School of Public Health to start his own seafood sustainability school. If you’re interested in learning more about Seaver’s work in sustainability, you can catch his keynote speech at the Sustainability & Thought Leadership Symposium 2018.

Undercurrent News highlights Seavers presentation along with other key seafood topics that made their way into conversations at the show. They cover the problematic “Golden Size” of Indonesian snapper, plant-based tuna and the role Millenials are playing in quick-service seafood restaurants making their way into grocery stores.

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EMS Crisis Led to Shrimp Oversupply

Seafoodnews.com recently reported on the impact oversupply and low prices have had on shrimp margins. Robins McIntosh, Vice President at Thailand’s Charoen Pokphand Foods, spoke about these sliding prices at the Guatemala Aquaculture Symposium. He explained that earlier this decade, early mortality syndrome impacted shrimp production in Southeast Asia. This caused supply shortages, which then caused prices to rise, which then caused farmers to increase production to capitalize on the highly profitable crop. All of this resulted in a market overcorrection that drove prices down.

McIntosh also pointed to the fact that U.S. demand for shrimp has only grown by 2 percent while demand in Japan is down and Europe has remained stagnant in recent years before outlining a number of shrimp myths he’s learned over his career.

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McDonald’s Gets Kids Interested in Sustainable Seafood

In a partnership with the Marine Stewardship Council, McDonalds created the Reel It In! card game. Designed to teach kids about sustainable fishing practices, the game puts an environmental spin on the classic Go Fish game. Every time a player goes fishing from the deck, they risk drawing a Keep Our Oceans Healthy card. If they draw too many of these cards, they lose the game.

Tha game also puts a spotlight on McDonald’s own seafood sustainability efforts. Since 2011 in the UK and 2013 in the U.S., the restaurant’s famous Filet-O-Fish has been made from MSC-certified wild-caught Alaska pollock.

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Image via McDonald’s

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