Coffee prices fluctuate with supply, but a severe drought in Brazil and a fungus called coffee rust in Central America have taken a toll on crop yields, sending coffee bean costs soaring this year with the expectation that they’ll go even higher in 2015.

A report earlier this year from the International Center for Tropical Agriculture in Colombia predicts that climate change will bring more of the same in the future. Arabica bean prices rose at least 72% this year, and they’re likely to continue climbing in 2015, according to Citi Research.

Total global supply is on track to rise 1.5% this year compared to 2013, but it’s the second year of a supply deficit, according to a report by Rabobank earlier this month. And the hit comes as coffee consumption around the globe continues to rise, driven in large part by Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts expansions into new markets, and the expansion of quickservice coffee programs like McDonald’s McCafe line. (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…)

Smartphone-toting consumers are always looking for ways to make their lives easier, and it seems like mobile payments could be another thing for restaurants and other businesses to consider when they are looking to draw new customers and keep loyal ones coming back.

But there is an issue outside of convenience that arises with the subject of mobile payments — data security. The retail industry has accounted for more than 36% of data breaches so far in 2014, the Wall Street Journal reported, and restaurants are not immune to such statistics. For example, P.F. Chang‘s was the victim of a highly publicized breach, and for restaurants that are considering adopting mobile payments, data security is a significant concern.

The introduction of Apple Pay and other mobile payment systems has the potential to change the face of mobile payments. So what should restaurants keep in mind when considering mobile payment systems? (read more…)

It is no surprise that women are behind a good deal of spending dollars. Women account for more than 70% of global purchasing decisions, according to Gallup, and as of last year, women control up to $15 trillion of spending power, Nielsen reported. But while marketers are making great strides when it comes to targeting female consumers, there is still a segment of the female population that marketers are missing, especially in the consumer packaged goods space — women at work.

According to a recent report by WorkPlace Impact, nearly half of women stop at the grocery store on their way home from work or during their lunch breaks, and a whopping 84% of women edit their shopping lists while they’re at work. Because of this, many CPG marketers are not reaching out to female consumers when they are making many of their purchasing decisions, according to Tara Peters, director of marketing at WorkPlace Impact. (read more…)

As the holiday season approaches, food banks will see a huge uptick in donations of canned goods and other foods. Generous donations at this time of year help needy families put food on their holiday table, but hunger is a daily problem for the 49 million Americans who live in food-insecure households, according to government data. With its nationwide network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs, Feeding America helps feed residents of all 50 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico.

With such a large operation — Feeding America provided more than 3 billion meals last year — food safety is paramount. Feeding America partnered with the National Restaurant Association to create a comprehensive food handling training guide for its network of food bank employees, agency staff and volunteers. The NRA’s ServSafe team surveyed Feeding America employees, conducted focus group and toured food banks to create the “ServSafe Food Handler Guide for Food Banking,” which provides training on maintaining good personal hygiene, cleaning and sanitizing food properly as well as receiving, storing, evaluating, repacking and transporting food safely. (read more…)