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  • 3 Sep 2020 1:20 PM | Anna Briggs-Pirila (Administrator)

    August 27, 2020

    Click here for the full report!

    1. Unicorns Aren’t Going Away

    Kellogg’s has new Unicorn and Mermaid waffles that are keeping consumers’ breakfasts magical. The Unicorn Waffles are pink with a cotton candy flavor and the Mermaid Waffles are teal with a blue raspberry flavor. These waffles have been spotted at Walmart and Albertsons. | Best Products

    Harpoon Brewery

    2. Harpoon Dunkin Beer

    For the 2020 fall season, Harpoon and Dunkin Donuts collaborated and created a beer line with 3 new beer flavors. One of the flavors being released hits the fall theme, Harpoon Dunkin’ Pumpkin. The other two flavors, Harpoon Dunkin’ Boston Kreme and Harpoon Dunkin’ Jelly Donut, are made with actual donuts! | Food & Wine

    3. Walnut Pesto

    Trader Joe’s has a new spread on the shelves, Walnut Pesto. This pesto paste is made with walnuts, canola oil, olive oil, parmesan cheese, black pepper, nutmeg, and seat salt. It is described to be savory, rich in nutty flavor and goes well with pasta, bread or dressed up in your veggies. | Trader Joe’s

    4. Fewer, Larger, Quicker Grocery Trips

    Due to health concerns during the pandemic, The Hartman Group conducted a survey and found that consumers have changed their grocery shopping habits. Consumers have found themselves making less trips to the grocery store to reduce exposure but on the quick trips they do take, they are stocking up and buying much more than they did before the pandemic. | Hartman Group

    5. Spicy Chicken Nuggets

    McDonald’s announced they will be releasing a new Spicy Chicken Nuggets flavor to their menu on September 16. This is the first new nugget flavor being introduced since 1986. Eater suggests that McDonald’s is jumping into the chicken wars with Chick-fil-A, Popeyes, Wendy’s, and KFC. | Eater

    6. Apple Pie Irish Cream Liqueur

    This August, Baileys released a new limited-edition Apple Pie-Flavored Irish Cream Liqueur. The flavor is described to resemble freshly baked apple pie mixed with vanilla ice cream and has hints of cinnamon and spice to top it off. | Thrillist

    7. Toast-Yay Cookie

    The Girl Scouts of the USA announced a new cookie flavor to add to their lineup, the Toast-Yay Cookie. This shortbread cookie is shaped like a slice of bread, partially coated in a sugary icing, and is French toast flavored. | Rachel Ray Mag

    8. Cheetos Mac ’N Cheese

    Cheetos just released a new product line, Mac & Cheese, exclusively sold at Walmart. This new line includes 3 different flavors: Bold & Cheesy, Flamin’ Hot, and Cheesy Jalapeno. The products are described to be extremely cheesy and you can instantly smell the notorious Cheeto flavor as soon as you open the cheese packet. | Guilty Eats

    9. Sparkle Syrup

    Runamok Maple, a sustainable pure syrup brand, dropped a limited-time-only Sparkle Syrup. This syrup is infused with glitter crystals that the company said it’s “one sole purpose: to make you smile.” The syrup is made with pure maple syrup and flavorless food-safe pearlescent mica and will be sold on their website and Amazon starting September 1. |Delish

    10. Pumpkin Spice Hot Cocoa

    Coming up this season, Swiss Miss combines two Autumn drinks to create Pumpkin Spice Hot Cocoa. This limited-edition drink with be available across the nation at retailers like Target, Walmart and Amazon.  | Pop Sugar

    Click here for the full report!

    Order your free flavor sample here.

    You deserve more. Let’s get started.

    What does true partnership look like? You deserve a flavor partner ready to turn these trends into the tangible.

    Let FONA’s market insight and research experts get to work for you. Translate these trends into bold new ideas for your brand. Increase market share and get to your “what’s next.” FONA's technical flavor and product development experts are also at your service to help meet the labeling and flavor profile needs for your products to capitalize on this consumer trend. Mesh the complexities of flavor with your brand development, technical requirements and regulatory needs to deliver a complete taste solution. From concept to manufacturing, they're here for you — every step of the way.

    Contact FONA International's sales service department at 630.578.8600 to request a flavor sample or chat us up at

  • 2 Sep 2020 1:04 PM | Anna Briggs-Pirila (Administrator)


    By Donna Berry

    CHICAGO – Experience is something food industry professionals have been missing with no trade shows and the opportunity to sample new products. The Chicagoland Food and Beverage Network (CFBN) brought that experience to its members on Aug. 27, when the nonprofit hosted a virtual trends and innovations event, which included the delivery of a tasting box.

    The interactive event was designed to not only assist food industry professionals in Chicago, but members around the country, even beyond US borders. Attendees were able to dive into the trends and insights that are shaping food today with a look to where “taste” is headed in the future, said Alan Reed, executive director of CFBN.

    Experience also is something consumers are missing when chefs are limited in how they may showcase their culinary talents with menu creation. The event was designed to assist commercial food manufacturers with tapping into that culinary artistry through the exploration of nine trends taking place in foodservice, which while many have been put on hold, consumer interest continues.

    “The tasting box is your experience,” said Kelley Fechner, director of customer solutions, Datassential, Chicago, to attendees.

    Ms. Fechner explained that eating out is as much about the food as it is the experience. Operators are now challenged with ensuring the same, or at least close to, experience happens with takeout and delivery.

    Diners are interested in functional foods, foods that do something for you, Ms. Fechner said. But at the same time, healthy indulgent is top of mind, especially during these uncertain times when many are turning to comfort foods.

    “I want to be healthy, but I also want a treat,” Ms. Fechner said.

    Kraut Krisps from Farmhouse CultureThis desire is fueling innovation in plant-based and fermented foods, with both trends now manifesting in snacks as well as sweet and savory products. This was showcased in the Kraut Krisps from Farmhouse Culture, Chicago, which were in the tasting box. Three ounces of sauerkraut are baked into every 5-oz bag of chips. In fact, sauerkraut is the No. 1 ingredient before it gets cooked down.

    Fermented foods include sour dough bread, which many home bakers have been exploring. On the beverage side, there’s kombucha and drinkable yogurt.

    The trend of sprouted grains may be experienced in baked foods, while cannabis may be found in a range of packaged foods, albeit illegally.

    The trend of zero waste is challenging to transfer into commercial food manufacturing, said Rick Williams, business partner-operations, JPG Resources, Battle Creek, Mich., a consultancy devoted to brand development. Chefs are better equipped to do this, as they are preparing foods for immediate consumption.

    Some components have a short shelf life, such as vegetable peelings. The chef may use them, but the industrial food manufacturer cannot.

    “Let your suppliers do the work,” said Amy Usiak, business partner – product development at JPG Resources. They can dry the peelings and pulverize them into a powder for another use.

    African cuisine is another foodservice trend poised to accelerate in commercial food manufacturing. Seasoning blends such as berbere and peri peri are conducive to the premium frozen foods rolling out into the marketplace, including bowl meals and family-size entrees. 

    Mr. Williams said consumers like trying these new tastes in restaurants because the chef knows what he is preparing. When a consumer follows a recipe at home, there’s a level of uncertainty if it tastes and looks right. Frozen food manufacturers can deliver authenticity. They can bring the foodservice trend to retail shelf.

    The goal is to “make it that moment” experience that you have in the restaurant, Ms. Usiak said.

    This, of course, comes with challenges, Mr. Williams said. There may be supply chain issues, especially of ingredients like imported spices.

    With many consumers still uncomfortable with dining out, there are some foods they are craving, Ms. Fechner said. Sushi, Chinese and lobster, these are foods that most people cannot easily make at home or they don’t want to make at home because of the lack of expertise or authentic ingredients.

    Restaurants serving such foods may have an advantage over others. This also presents an opportunity for retailers to explore more authentic offerings at the deli counter and in packaged prepared foods.

    Many restaurants have started adding new products to keep consumers interested and coming back, for on-premises dining, takeout or delivery. Foodservice at retail is starting to do the same.

    “We’re getting a little tired of comfort foods,” Ms. Fechner said. “Chefs are starting to create new flavors of comfort foods.”

    The concept of comfort food is evolving, said John Draz, executive research chef, Ed Miniat LLC, South Holland, Ill. Consumers want foods that make them safe, such as retorted soup, which is sterile and non-perishable. He also believes there’s an opportunity for innovative meal kits at retail.

    “There’s a real opportunity to help people eat healthier,” said Jeff Grogg, managing director at JPG Resources.

    They don’t necessarily want more bars or beverages, rather how about prepped vegetables.

    Ms. Fechner said innovation in foodservice is now focusing on center-of-plate dinners. This is where consumers in the COVID-19 world need the most help after a long day of working from home while overseeing children to keep them focused on e-learning.

    Today’s consumers simply want to “deliver a great-taste experience to the family at dinner,” Ms. Usiak said.

  • 31 Aug 2020 1:50 PM | Anna Briggs-Pirila (Administrator)

    August 27, 2020 08:00 AM EDT

    CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--ADM has identified six emerging behavioral changes that will power innovation and growth in the months ahead.

    “Consumers’ attitudes, priorities and behaviors are shifting significantly,” said Ana Ferrell, VP of Marketing, ADM. “This evolution is providing a unique opportunity for forward-looking food and beverage companies to bring a suite of trailblazing new products to market.”

    Recent ADM OutsideVoice℠ research shows that 77% of consumers intend to make more attempts to stay healthy in the future. Food and beverage manufacturers who successfully balance consumer health concerns with affordability are most likely to win with consumers.

    ADM has identified six behavioral shifts that will create opportunities for food and beverage manufacturers to gain market share in an increasingly uncertain business environment.

    1. Increasing Focus on the Gut Health and Immune Function Connection
      Globally, 57% of consumers report being more concerned about their immunity as a result of COVID-191. As consumers strive to enhance their immunity, they are becoming more knowledgeable about how the human microbiome supports the immune system and overall wellbeing. Products containing probiotics, prebiotics and postbiotics can benefit the microbiome and are already gaining momentum in the marketplace.

    2. Plant-Based Becomes Mainstream
      In the U.S., 18% of alternative protein buyers purchased their first plant-based protein during COVID-19, and 92% of those first-time buyers report they are likely to continue purchasing meat alternatives2. In Germany, the U.K. and the Netherlands, 80% of consumers state they are likely to continue eating plant-based meat alternatives beyond COVID-192. With health, safety and convenience as top purchase motivators, products that deliver exceptional nutrition and a high-quality sensory experience will be poised for success.

    3. A New Perspective on Weight Management and Metabolic Health
      The pandemic’s consequences for individuals with hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular disease have consumers viewing weight management and metabolic health in a new light, with 51% of consumers indicating they are concerned about being less active or gaining weight during the pandemic. That worry is likely to increase demand for functional solutions supportive of metabolic wellness and healthy weight management.

    4. Finding Balance: Self Care, Emotional Wellbeing and Nutrition
      The difficult circumstances stemming from COVID-19 have increased feelings of anxiety and stress as 35% of consumers report being concerned about mental health2. People are looking for new ways to improve their mental wellness during these stressful times, including granting themselves permission to consume indulgent, comforting food and beverages. However, they are tempering this desire with weight management needs and seek a careful overall balance of indulgence and good nutrition.

      Food and beverages designed to elevate mood, sustain energy and reduce stress will grow in popularity in the months and years to come. ADM also projects new opportunities for comfort foods, snacks and baked goods offering nutrient-rich ingredients and functional health benefits.

    5. Nutrition, It’s Personal
      As COVID-19 increases consumer awareness of individual health risk factors, demand for products offering tailored, highly personalized health and wellness solutions will take off. ADM research shows that 49% of consumers feel every individual is unique and requires a customized approach to diet and exercise, and 31% of consumers are already purchasing more items tailored for health and nutrition. Products that focus on improving nutrition, self-care and general wellness will increasingly attract consumers’ attention2.

    6. A Shift in Shopping Values
      An increased focus on health is triggering a windfall in consumer health and wellness spending. Forty-eight percent of consumers plan to purchase more items related to health and wellness2. Concurrently, manifesting concerns around widespread economic decline have prompted a shift to value-based shopping, including growing demand for basic pantry staples, stimulating trade-downs to private labels and increasing traffic to value retailers.

    These behavioral shifts are likely to persist well after the pandemic crisis peaks. ADM has responded by developing tailored solutions aimed at giving brands an edge in an ever-changing marketplace.

    About ADM

    At ADM, we unlock the power of nature to provide access to nutrition worldwide. With industry-advancing innovations, a complete portfolio of ingredients and solutions to meet any taste, and a commitment to sustainability, we give customers an edge in solving the nutritional challenges of today and tomorrow. We’re a global leader in human and animal nutrition and the world’s premier agricultural origination and processing company. Our breadth, depth, insights, facilities and logistical expertise give us unparalleled capabilities to meet needs for food, beverages, health and wellness, and more. From the seed of the idea to the outcome of the solution, we enrich the quality of life the world over. Learn more at

    1 FMCG GURUS: Twelve Step Guide for Addressing COVID-19 in 2020 and Beyond, April 2020

    2 ADM OutsideVoice℠

    Source: Corporate release

  • 20 Aug 2020 1:59 PM | Anna Briggs-Pirila (Administrator)

    August 12, 2020

    Dining Out      Trends      Click Here for the full report! 

    What we once knew as dining as usual has taken a drastic shift in the past months. Foodservice operators have been forced to think on their feet, quickly adapting and innovating to stay afloat. What trends in the restaurant space can carry over to prepared food and beverage and the grocery aisle? While the effects of the pandemic have negatively impacted the dining industry, it has also brought about innovation in foods, flavors and new ways of dining. From pandemic dining trends to consumer interest in everything from comfort food to spice to and better-for-you offerings, let’s take a look at how this new state of dining has impacted food and flavor trends.

    Unexpected Changes

    Consumer behaviors and the dining industry changed in what felt like overnight. Shelter-in-place, social distancing and work from home orders limited the extent to which consumers could dine in person, let alone follow common routines such as socializing with friends, picking up their morning coffee on the way to work, buying groceries and more.

    From sales declines to food surpluses, the dining industry has been far from “business as usual” with sales down 67% year over year in April. Common dining food and drink such as beer and wine reached sales declines as high as 90% and 65% respectively.

    The dining industry response? Adapt to change and innovate with new products, services, and ways of running business.

    “Restaurant sales declined precipitously throughout the month of March, falling 78.3% from the week ending 8 March to the week ending 29 March. April sales were down 67.6% YoY.” – Iconoculture

    “Due to restaurant and bar closures, distributed draft beer sales are down well over 90 percent, according to a BA report from earlier this month. And on-site sales for breweries—much of which comes out of their own tap lines—are down 65 percent on average.” – Food & Wine, April 2020

    To continue reading, visit:

  • 17 Aug 2020 3:11 PM | Anna Briggs-Pirila (Administrator)

    By News Desk on August 11, 2020

    USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) is out with its annual International Food Security Assessment, and it isn’t pretty. And the reason things have gotten worse is the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.

    The authors–Felix Baquedano, Cheryl Christensen, Kayode Ajewole, and Jayson Beckman–say the bottom line is this:

    “In the 76 low- and middle-income countries examined in the report, the number of people considered food insecure in 2020 was estimated at almost 761 million people or 19.8 percent of the total population. The shock to GDP from COVID-19 is projected to increase the number of food-insecure people by 83.5 million people in 2020 to 844.5 million and increase the share of the population that is food insecure to 22 percent.”

    The annual report determines how much access people in 76 low and middle-income countries have to food. The answer to that question requires tracking incomes, food prices, and other economic factors including agriculture production and market conditions.

    “Widespread food availability, rising income levels, and low food prices improve a country’s food security, although the breadth of these gains can depend on the distribution of income within a country,” says the ERS report. ” Conversely, disruptions to income, prices, or food supply can increase food insecurity, especially for the poor.”

    This year’s report looks at the income shock associated with the COVID-19 pandemic on food security in each of the 76 countries, which are located in Sub-Saharan and North Africa, Latin America, and Asia.

    Among the findings are:

    • The number of food-insecure people in 2020 is estimated at 844.3 million, an increase of 83.5 million (11 percent) due to COVID-19 income shock. This implies that 22 percent of the total population of the 76 focus countries is unable to consume 2,100 calories a day, an average caloric level necessary to sustain a healthy and active lifestyle.
    • Most of the increase in people estimated to be food insecure as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic are in Asia (41 million people) and Sub-Saharan Africa (35 million people).
    • Even with the income impacts from COVID-19, food security is projected to improve in all 76 countries over the next 10 years. By 2030, the share of the population that is food insecure in these countries is projected to fall to 10 percent (456.8 million people), a 46 percent drop from 2020 in the number of food-insecure people. Despite this sharp decline, the 2030 estimate of food insecurity is almost 13 percent higher than the pre-COVID-19 scenario.
    • Improvement in food security is driven by income growth, relatively stable prices for major grains over the projection period, and lower population growth, particularly in Asia and in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    • Per capita income in the following decade is projected to increase by almost 42 percent on average for the 76 countries, but this is 1.3 percentage points lower than the pre-COVID-19 estimate.
    • The food gap, defined as the amount of food needed for all food-insecure people to reach the caloric target of 2,100 kcal/day, indicates the intensity of food insecurity. It can be expressed in calories per capita per day or in grain-equivalent quantities and is used to measure the intensity of food security at the aggregate level. For the 76 countries examined, the total food gap is projected to decline in all four regions from a total of 44.7 million tons in 2020 to 24.3 million tons in 2030.

    (To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)

    Tags: Economic Research Service (ERS)Food Security Assessment

  • 12 Aug 2020 9:25 AM | Anna Briggs-Pirila (Administrator)

    Setting a new standard for what innovative companies can achieve together

    CHICAGO, Aug. 6, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- SPINS®, a leading wellness-focused data, analytics and technology provider in the U.S., announced a new exclusive data partnership with C.A. Fortune, a leading, privately held, full-service consumer brands sales and marketing agency. This partnership harnesses the power of SPINS' proprietary assets to accelerate C.A. Fortune's role as a growth strategist for their clients.

    Together, SPINS and C.A. Fortune are developing a design-centric marketplace reporting platform to enable outsized portfolio growth, retail operational execution and new approaches toward engaging customers—all on one aligned data- and alert-system platform across channels. Linking collective intellectual resources and joint-boutique service offerings will lead to an amplified industry voice and provide clients with timely thought leadership and industry expertise.

    "In today's dynamic consumer product industry, investment in innovation has become a table stake for success. SPINS continues to drive innovation, safeguarding wins to SPINS ecosystem partners in the North American marketplace," said Tony Olson, owner and CEO of SPINS. "SPINS and C.A. Fortune are poised to set a new standard for what innovative organizations can achieve together, by leveraging emerging technologies, deep product expertise and the power of aligned resources. I am thrilled that C.A. Fortune recognizes that a partnership with SPINS further affirms their position as a service innovator."

    Over the past decade, SPINS has disrupted the data landscape by providing omni-channel sales coverage and unmatched product attribution. SPINS has established the common language for the natural products industry, which is now leveraged across the entire retail landscape. SPINS technology investments continue to redefine how data can be leveraged in the marketplace—providing actionable insights through digital activation solutions.

    "Even in such an unpredictable year, C.A. Fortune has continued to execute on what it means to be a full-service consumer brands agency and challenge ourselves on how we can further live our values," says CEO and Managing Partner at C.A. Fortune, Tyler Lowell. "We are an organization founded on innovation, disrupting traditional brokerages and setting a new standard of what a client should expect from a partner. We seek partners that aim to do the same; break the status quo and look to what should be done, rather than what has been done. Which is why we have chosen to further strengthen our relationship with SPINS, allowing our brands to achieve larger results."

    Providing sales management, retail activation, business intelligence, creative/marketing and more, C.A. Fortune is a vertically integrated agency specifically built to help consumer brands increase their presence in conventional, natural and online channels nationwide.

    About C.A. Fortune 
    Founded in 1983, C.A. Fortune is a leading, privately held, full-service consumer brands sales and marketing agency. With nationwide coverage, the company offers clients a comprehensive solution — including sales management, an outsourced sales accelerator, marketing and branding, insights, retail activation, and digital and e-comm services. C.A. Fortune is headquartered in Chicago and has regional offices across the country. To learn more, visit

    About SPINS
    SPINS is a wellness-focused data company and advocate for the Natural Products Industry. Over the past two decades, SPINS' investments have led to a common language used across the industry as well as laid the foundation for the next generation of innovation, while providing dynamic data, actionable insights, and digital activation solutions that drive growth for our clients & partners and contribute to a healthier and more vibrant America. Learn more at


    Related Links

  • 7 Aug 2020 10:02 AM | Anonymous

    Manufacturing and Illinois-Distribution of 230K+ Meal Packets Occur August 12, 2020

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE. August 6, 2020. CHICAGO, Ill. -- Due to Coronavirus, and according to Feeding America, the number of Americans who are food insecure is escalating from 1 in 8 last year to 1 in 6 in 2020. Bigger Table, the nonprofit arm of Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network, is helping the food insecure by creating a tasty, high-protein, low-sugar chocolate meal replacement mix. SEE MEDIA ALERT FOR DATES, TIMES.[1] 

    Each Bigger Table partner company behind this effort donated time, services, know-how, ingredients, flavors, and skills to develop this delicious and nutritious product that will be donated to food banks free of charge (retail value of this mix is estimated at $3 a packet).

    In total, an estimated 19,800 pounds of ingredients, plus packaging, recipe creation, manufacturing time, food safety plans, and more have been donated in-kind to make this product.

    This week, the nonprofit is manufacturing and packaging 230,000+ servings of this Chocolate Protein Beverage Mix. “This is the new wave of corporate philanthropy,” says Alan Reed, Executive Director of Bigger Table. “These ingredients are already in our food supply chain. Bigger Table’s role is to ‘direct traffic,’ facilitating the collaboration to create more healthy meals for food banks.”

    This large, summertime endeavor follows Bigger Table’s pilot launch of 10,000 packets of high-protein, low-sugar Hot Cocoa Mix (distributed the coldest week of the year in February). As the pandemic erupted, Chicago-based Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), a $65B global leader in human and animal nutrition, asked Bigger Table to fast track a larger project that could sustain more people. “ADM committed ingredients to advance this effort, and with ADM’s leadership, nutrition expertise, and vast portfolio of functional ingredients, we concepted and created this product from scratch in less than four months,” adds Reed.

    Others contributing to this Protein Mix include: Bader Rutter (product branding), Blueshoon (website development/management), Coyle Print Group (product labeling), ConnectFood (food safety), Dairy Farmers of America (dry milk, milk protein), Edlong (dairy flavorings), FONA International (flavorings), Imbibe (recipe development, sweeteners), Lithotype Co. (product packaging), Olam Cocoa (cocoa), and Proven Partners Group (manufacturing), and Sweetener Supply (salt). “We are proud to lead an industry effort that utilizes ingredients as a solution to feeding people in need,” says Reed. We are forging new paths between caring local businesses and food-insecure Americans” 

    # # #

    ABOUT BIGGER TABLE: Bigger Table is a nonprofit (501c3) organization founded by the Chicagoland Food and Beverage Network. It aims to bring together the area’s food & beverage industry to collaborate and deliver on a series of charitable and economic growth initiatives. By working together, Bigger Table believes it can work more effectively, have a bigger impact on the community, and better engage employees and the communities it serves.

    ABOUT CHICAGOLAND FOOD AND BEVERAGE NETWORK: CFBN is a regional food & beverage membership organization representing a rich variety of industry leaders, from established professionals to budding entrepreneurs. CFBN boasts a vibrant and growing membership of companies interested in connecting and learning from others and building the industry in Chicagoland. It brings people together for networking opportunities, to brainstorm great ideas, to collaborate and create to grow business.

  • 7 Aug 2020 9:54 AM | Anonymous

    Media Opp: August 12, 2020, Product Distribution in Ravenswood and Oak Park (Addresses Below)

    WHAT:  This Chocolate Protein Beverage Mix is the culmination of a several-months’-long initiative of 12 local food and beverage companies to address hunger in Illinois.

    Together, they are creating more than 230,000+ single-serve packets of Bigger Table Chocolate Protein Beverage Mix -- made with 100% donated ingredients and would retail at an estimated $3 a pouch. This is a free, first-of-its-kind, nutrient-rich, high-protein, drink mix made specifically for food-insecure residents of Chicago and Northern Illinois.

    The packets will be distributed through Greater Chicago Food Depository (100,000 packets), Northern Ill. Food Bank (117,000 packets), Meals on Wheels (10,000 packets) Beyond Hunger (10,000 packets), and Common Pantry (10,000 packets). The remaining 3,000 packets will be distributed through Bigger Table and partners Imbibe and CREDMADE.


    • Wed., August 12, 11:45AM-1:30PM Common Pantry 3744 N. Damen Ave, Chicago
    • Wed., August 12 at 3:30-5PM Beyond Hunger. 848 Lake Street, Oak Park, Illinois.

    WHY:  According to a recent surveys, this pandemic is causing more Illinois residents to. become food insecure. Chicagoland’s food & beverage industry is addressing hunger by developing this new, free, nutrient-rich drink mix created from thousands of dollars worth of donated ingredients. (SEE PRESS RELEASE FOR MORE INFORMATION.)

    WHO:  Bigger Table is a nonprofit (501c3) organization founded by the Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network (CFBN). This non-profit food project includes industry members: ADM, Bader Rutter, Blueshoon, Coyle Print Group, ConnectFood, Dairy Farmers of America, Edlong, FONA International, Imbibe, Lithotype Co, Olam Cocoa, Proven Partners Group and Sweetener Supply.



  • 21 Jul 2020 1:05 PM | Anonymous

    COVID-19 has left a mark on every industry, including food and beverage. Through it all, we’ve seen that adapting to existing conditions is essential, but the question on every mind was, and still is: should companies continue to invest in innovation? The answer is a resounding yes.

    Uncertainty has shifted focus to near constant adjustment, but exclusive short-term focus can threaten long-term growth and survival. Planned resets are largely on hold and e-commerce is on the rise, causing a narrowing of on-shelf options, and while the industry will likely be forever changed, many behaviors and patterns will return to close to where they were before March 2020. The innovation and commercialization process takes time. Stopping now just means your tank will be dry in a year, making it critical to keep moving forward.

    So, with everything in flux around you, how do you keep innovation top of mind?

    First, embrace the vanguard of innovation — foodservice, in whatever forms it can take. Once defined by the combination of food, service and place, the dining experience now more than ever can provide the distraction and recreation that consumers need. Take advantage of creative menu resets to provide variety and valuable feedback for off-premise success.

    Second, rethink avenues of new product discovery. Before the pandemic hit, brands of all sizes enjoyed a steadily increasing number of paths to product trial and consumer engagement. Now, safety and value are top of mind. Where and how people are browsing, discovering and trying new products is changing. How will you curate the trial experience? Leverage digital substitutes for in-store opportunities, including partnerships and collateral.

    Next, be sure to build a bridge for safe experimentation. Establish a core set of flavors and product lines that align with consumer expectations, supplemented with a handful of adventurous alternatives. These new ideas, however, should still be in line with your established brand positioning. This gives consumers a reasonable entry point for your brand while allowing for unique positioning with one-of-a-kind experiences.

    Last, prepare for newly abandoned territory and competitive response, especially for emerging brands. Opportunity won’t be around for long as bigger brands work to take back leadership. Take advantage of the renewed attention to reach new audiences and secure loyalty. Also, be sure to nurture relationships with key partners.

    From kick off to launch, every step should have a clear purpose that will lead to market. Speed and quality are important during this time, and existing innovation processes may need reconsideration to fit the current environment. The opportunity is there, but are you willing and able to do the work to seize it?

    Led by a team of CPG veterans, JPG Resources is a food & beverage innovation and operations consultancy based in Battle Creek, Michigan, where it has established a track record of building ideas into thriving food businesses. With a team of more than 40 food & beverage diehards, JPG creates positive business outcomes for disruptive startups to the most trusted global CPG brands.

  • 21 Jul 2020 11:47 AM | Anonymous

    In response to the economic hardship resulting from COVID-19, governments at all levels have tried to provide relief to businesses.  The Federal government, through a series of acts, passed stimulus and relief packages in excess of $2.5 trillion dollars with the focus on preserving jobs and maintaining economic activity.  Additionally, Illinois and Chicago have made relief available to impacted businesses

    • Federal Programs:  Payroll Tax Relief

    • Employee Retention Credit: Employers subject to full or partial closure due to COVID-19, or whose businesses have suffered as a result of the economic downturn (“eligible employers”), are eligible for a refundable payroll tax credit of up to 50% of qualified wages paid. For eligible employers with greater than 100 full-time employees, qualified wages are wages paid to employees when they are not providing services because the business has been partially or fully shut down due to COVID-19, or because gross receipts have declined by more than 50% relative to the same quarter in the prior year. For eligible employers with 100 or fewer full-time employees, all employee wages qualify for the credit. The credit is provided for the first $10,000 of compensation, including health benefits, paid to an eligible employee in the quarter, for wages paid from March 13 through December 31, 2020. It is limited to employment taxes on wages paid, reduced by other payroll credits, including those enacted by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

    • Deferral of Employer Payroll Taxes: The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”) allows for deferral of the employer share of Social Security taxes owed in 2020 (including the share owed by self-employed individuals), with the deferred amount to be paid over the following two years, half by December 31, 2021 and the other half by December 31, 2022. The payroll taxes that can be deferred are those incurred during the period beginning on the CARES Act’s date of enactment and ending before January 1, 2021.

    • Federal Programs:  Income Tax Relief

    • Tax Due Date: The federal tax due date for returns due April 15, 2020, including related payments and estimated payments, was postponed to July 15, 2020.

    • Net Operating Loss Carrybacks: This provision reverses restrictions on businesses’ use of losses enacted as part of the TCJA. Those changes amended section 172 to limit taxpayers’ ability to carry back a Net Operating Loss (“NOL”) and introduced an 80% limitation on NOL carryforwards. The CARES Act allows for a 5-year carryback of NOLs arising in tax years beginning in 2018, 2019, or 2020 and temporarily removes the 80% of taxable income limitation.

    • Pass-Through Business Losses: Section 461(l) was enacted by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“TCJA”), limiting the ability of individuals (and sole proprietors) from claiming excess business losses beginning in 2018. The CARES Act modifies the loss limitation rule, thereby reinstating taxpayers’ ability to deduct excess business losses attributable to pass-through businesses and sole proprietorships for tax years 2018-2020.

    • Acceleration of AMT Credit: The TCJA repealed the corporate AMT, but allowed corporate AMT credits to continue to be utilized, spread over several years ending in 2021. The CARES Act allows taxpayers to accelerate their ability to claim AMT credits into 2018 and 2019, or to make an election to claim the entire amount in 2018.

    • Increase in Taxable Income Threshold for Deducting Interest Expense:   The TCJA vastly expanded the restrictions on deductibility of business interest expense, generally limiting it to 30% of taxable income (broadly defined). The CARES Act raises the threshold to 50% for 2019 and 2020 for taxpayers other than partnerships. The change can adversely impact taxpayers that may be subject to other loss limitation provisions, such as BEAT. The CARES Act allows taxpayers to elect out of the increased limitation. The act does not adjust the limitation for partnerships, but does increase the limitation at the partner level in a complex manner. 50% of a partner’s suspended excess interest expense allocated to them for 2019 can be fully utilized, while the remaining 50% is subject to TCJA-enacted rules applicable to partner excess interest expense. A partner can choose to elect out of the new rule.

    • Retail Glitch:  A well-known drafting error in the TCJA classified qualified improvement property as 39-year property when it was intended to be treated as 15-year property. The CARES Act corrects this oversight by defining qualified improvement property as 15-year property.  This means that qualified improvement property will now be eligible for bonus depreciation and a shorter recovery period. This provision is effective for property acquired and placed in service after September 27, 2017, thus affording taxpayers the ability to amend prior year returns.

    • Accelerating Loss Deductions to Prior Years:  Pursuant to IRC section 165(i), taxpayers may elect to deduct certain losses attributable to a federally declared disaster in the “[…] taxable year immediately preceding the taxable year in which the disaster occurred.” In the past, generally, taxpayers deducting section 165(i) losses had tangible damage corresponding with their losses - i.e., a storm visibly damaging a building’s walls and infrastructure. With respect to coronavirus losses, although they seemingly qualify for section 165(i) relief, it may be difficult ultimately linking them to the coronavirus, because in many cases there is no visible, outward damage. Coronavirus may not be the only event which led to a taxpayer’s losses, so parsing out which losses qualify will be a nuanced task.

    • Enhanced Charitable Deduction for Food Donations:  The enhanced tax deduction, subject to certain criteria, provides an extra incentive for food donation by allowing the donating business to deduct the lesser of (a) twice the basis value of the donated food or (b) the basis value of the donated food plus one-half of the food’s expected profit margin (if the food were sold at its fair market value).  Charitable contribution deductions are limited to 25% of taxable income from corporations.

    • Federal Programs:  Loan Programs

    • Paycheck Protection Program:  The CARES Act establishes a new Paycheck Protection Program to let small businesses, nonprofits, and individuals seek loans through the Small Business Administration (“SBA”)​ 7(a) loan program. The program, plus subsequent updates, authorizes $659 billion in total 7(a) lending from February 15 through August 8 for fiscal year 2020. Recipients can use the loans to cover eligible payroll costs -- including salaries, commissions, regular paid leave, and health-care benefits -- as well as mortgage interest and utility payments. Recipients must make a “good faith certification” that they will use the funds to retain workers, maintain payroll, and pay for rent and similar expenses.​  The SBA allows deferment payments until the date on which the amount of forgiveness is determined under section 1106 of the CARES Act is remitted to the lender.​ Recipients of SBA-guaranteed loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) can apply for loan forgiveness over either eight weeks or 24 weeks for eligible payroll costs and for mortgage interest, rent, and utility payments.

    • Main Street Lending Program: The Main Street Lending Program is a new offering created by the Federal Reserve to help businesses during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and accompanying economic downturn. It is a great alternative to the  PPP, the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program and the Express Bridge Loan program. Note that companies that have already applied to the PPP are also eligible for loans through the Main Street Lending Program.

    • Illinois Programs

    • The Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) will waive penalties and interest for out of-state employers who fail to withhold Illinois income taxes for employees, where the sole reason for the withholding obligation is that the employee is working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    • The IDOR is following the federal government in providing special tax filing and payment relief to individuals and businesses in response to the COVID-19 Outbreak. The filing deadline for Illinois income tax returns has been extended from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020. This filing and payment relief includes: The 2019 income tax filing and payment deadlines for all taxpayers who file and pay their Illinois income taxes on April 15, 2020, are automatically extended until July 15, 2020. This relief applies to all individual returns, trusts, and corporations. This does not impact the first and second installments of estimated payments for 2020 taxes that are due April 15 and June 15. Taxpayers are required to estimate their tax liability for the year and make four equal installments. Taxpayers will not be assessed a late estimated payment penalty if the amount of the installments equals 90% or more of the current year’s liability or 100% of the previous year’s liability.

    • The Department of Revenue is to defer sales tax payments for more than 24,000 small- and medium-sized bars and restaurants.  Eating and drinking establishments that incurred less than $75,000 in sales tax liabilities last year will not be charged penalties or interest on late payments due in March, April or May.

    • Chicago Programs:

    • Chicago has extended the payment due dates for Amusement, Bottled Water, Checkout Bag, Ground Transportation, Hotel Accommodation, Parking, and Restaurant taxes for the periods of July 2019 through September 2020.

    • If you need help navigating through these complexities, please reach out to your trusted advisor. Or, click here to learn more about Mazars USA LLP.

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