The son of a grocery store owner, Randall Onstead, CEO of Bi-Lo Holdings, was raised in the business. Almost 50 years ago, in 1966, his father started a grocery chain in Texas of his namesake — Randalls, where he worked when he was 10 years old. From there, it was a series of upward progressions. He went on to grow his career at Randalls Food Markets Inc., parent company of both Randalls and Tom Thumb supermarket chains in Texas, eventually rising to lead the company as chairman, president and CEO. Between 1997 and 1999, Onstead increased the business value from $645 million to $1.85 billion.

In 1999, Randalls Food Markets, Inc., was sold to Safeway, and he moved on to serve as president and CEO of Texas-based crafts and decor retailer Garden Ridge Corp., and then as president of Dominick’s Finer Foods, a division of Safeway, Onstead tells us. (read more…)

One in six Americans is food insecure, yet 40% of America’s edible food goes to waste every year.

Those statistics paint the grim picture of the state of food and how much we’re wasting in the U.S. Enter the Food Waste Reduction Alliance, an initiative jointly established by the Food Marketing Institute, the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the National Restaurant Association in 2011 to work together to fight food waste, increase food donations to those in need and to recycle unavoidable food waste.

“We’re three big associations dealing with one big problem; we’re hoping to educate on the Food Waste Reduction Alliance’s efforts to reduce, reuse and recover,” said Heather Garlich of FMI.

FoodWasteInfographicsGMAMost recently, the FWRA created easy-to-read infographics (right, click to enlarge) related to a benchmark analysis on food waste, which aims to help those in the industry understand just how crucial it is to get involved — as Christy Cook, senior manager of sustainability field support for Sodexo North America‘s office of sustainability and corporate social responsibility, puts it, “food waste not only takes a toll on the environment, it also has economic and social impacts.”

“Diverting surplus food to agencies that help to feed the hungry is a great way to support our local communities,” Cook said. (read more…)

The farm-to-table movement may seem like something that exploded onto the scene within the last five years or so, but the idea of embracing fresh, natural foods from one’s own backyard isn’t new. If you look back far enough, this was once the only way to eat, before refrigeration and other modern technologies made the global supply chain possible. But even in the era of modern restaurants, local foods have long been a passion for many chefs and avid diners. In the 1970s, the country was buzzing about California cuisine, and Alice Waters’s acclaimed Berkeley restaurant, Chez Panisse, was at the center of the early farm-to-table movement.

Today, farm-to-table is practically de rigueur, and consumers are taking their dedication to local foods to the next level. Shoppers, especially millennials, are increasingly patronizing farmers markets and seeking out restaurants that source local goods beyond just produce. Artisan breads from neighborhood bakeries, seasonal pickles from nearby producers and locally brewed craft beers all deliver a unique, specific flavor that lends a sense of place. (read more…)

The Food and Drug Administration has finally released the menu labeling rules and regulations that restaurants with 20 or more locations will be required to follow starting at the end of 2015. While the long-awaited rulebook lays out what information restaurants and other foodservice locations will need to display, it also raises many questions about how operators will obtain correct nutrition information for all their offerings and how they will include these numbers on menus. SmartBrief interviewed Anita Jones-Mueller, president and CEO of Healthy Dining, about what operators need to know about the new rules.

Last week, the FDA released the final rules for the menu labeling legislation. What should restaurants know about the final rules?

Yes, the FDA released the very lengthy Federal Register, dated December 1, 2014, which outlines the menu labeling rules and regulations requiring restaurants with 20 or more U.S. locations to post calories on menus and menu boards and provide nutrition information for 11 nutrients for all standard menu items, as well as print a calorie statement on menus. (read more…)

What are consumers consuming? Pizza — and a lot of it. Every week, two out of three Americans eat pizza. In fact, the average consumer purchases pizza away-from-home (at a restaurant, fast food outlet, cafeteria, etc.) five times a month — more than once a week.

For Datassential‘s newest MenuTrends Keynote report, we decided to dive deep into this consumer favorite. What types of pizza are they eating, where are they eating it, and what are the barriers that keep them from choosing pizza? We also took a comprehensive look at growing pizza trends, from toppings to crusts to rapidly-growing flatbreads.

Americans love meat

Consumers can’t get enough pepperoni pizza. Pepperoni pizza was the highest rated of the varieties we tested, loved by 47% of consumers. And they are voting with their wallets — among consumers who had eaten a pizza within the past two weeks, 40% chose a pepperoni pizza, with sausage a distant second, chosen by 16% of consumers. (read more…)