Top 10: School meals, vegan food at Target and Chipotle’s wage increases Leave a comment


Childhood nutrition proved a popular topic among readers of SmartBrief’s food-and-beverage newsletters this week, starting with a story about a bill that would make a free-lunch program launched during the pandemic permanent. The Universal School Meals Program Act of 2021, proposed by Democratic lawmakers in the House and the Senate, would permanently provide three meals and one snack daily to all children, regardless of their family incomes. 

Also this week, the USDA awarded plant-based meat maker Impossible Foods a Child Nutrition label, which will allow the company’s meat alternative to be served in school cafeterias. The company aims to use the access to help educate children on good nutrition and the environmental impact of switching from animal products to plant-based ones.

Plant-based alternatives were also a hot topic at Target this week, with the unveiling of new items to the retailer’s Good & Gather private-label brand. The new vegan collection features more than 30 products including oatmilk, mayo and plant-based alternatives to chicken and meatballs. “Guest demand for plant-based offerings is incredibly high and continues to grow,” Target executive Rick Gomez said in a news release. 

Also in food retail news, Trader Joe’s tech chief Ron Glickman shares the retailer’s strategy for investing with a focus on how employees and new technology can work together to serve shoppers. 

In the restaurant world, Chipotle Mexican Grill’s announcement that it’s raising pay and creating a referral bonus program to recruit employees in a tight labor market made the Top 10 list. The average pay for the chain’s hourly employees will rise to $15 per hour by the end of next month. The company is on a mission to hire about 20,000 new employees and needs to staff the more than 200 new units it plans to open this year. 

Read the entire Top 10:

  1. SNA supports Universal School Meals Program Act
  2. Tyson tackles absenteeism with wage hike
  3. USDA grants Impossible Foods a Child Nutrition label
  4. Ferrara rolls out refreshed fruit snacks brand
  5. CEO: Southeastern Grocers’ turnaround hits its stride
  6. Target’s Good & Gather brand adds plant-based products
  7. Trader Joe’s CIO: Tech augments “human interaction”
  8. Oreo unveils Team USA cookies for the Olympics
  9. Rebranded Ben’s Original products hit retail shelves
  10. Chipotle to raise wages, pay bonuses in hiring push

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