Taking a look at the food and beverage industry in the time of COVID-19, here are some top stories from last week. For more news about the food and beverage industry, subscribe to Restaurant SmartBrief and ABA SmartBrief.
PepsiCo CEO Ramon Laguarta has identified four pandemic-inspired trends he expects will continue to affect purchasing behavior post-pandemic. People's lives will still to be centered around the home, e-commerce will continue to grow, consumers will seek to balance their physical and mental health, and low-sugar options will drive continued interest in healthier food and beverage choices, said Laguarta.
The list of Technomic's Top 500 restaurant chains includes 165 that added at least a few new units last year, despite the challenges of the pandemic. Teriyaki Madness grew its unit count by more than half, and Clean Juice, Wahlburgers, Walk-On's Sports Bistreaux and Kung Fu Tea rounded out the top five.
Leadership styles vary from person to person and between organizations -- but are you using the right strategies to help your team overcome the effects of the pandemic? Managers must ensure that the way they lead helps staff move past obstacles while avoiding burnout. Relationship building, a focus on workplace wellness and the willingness to celebrate victories -- even small ones -- can help your team.
Lockdowns and pandemic restrictions took a toll on our relationships. As we struggled with stress and found ourselves unable to socialize in the ways we were used to, some friendships have fallen by the wayside. Spending time with friends can help us combat feelings of loneliness and isolation that spiked amid the pandemic. If you've lost touch with friends over the past year, now might be the time to reach out. Acknowledge your struggles and be sympathetic to those of others while trying to plan low pressure, fun outings. Allow yourself to let go of friendships that no longer provide what you need, and consider making new friends who fit better with your current lifestyle and priorities.
A growing number of mental health experts are calling for Post-Pandemic Stress Disorder to become an officially recognized condition, noting the number of people displaying typical trauma-induced behaviors as pandemic restrictions are lifted. Support groups are emerging to help people cope with the loss of loved ones or employment and virtual mental health support has increased. There is no right or wrong way to feel as we emerge from a crisis, experts say, but confronting feelings of uncertainty and vulnerability is an important step.
Members of the Los Angeles Opera are working together with Rondi Charleston, a music educator, on a UCLA program aimed at using singing to help people recover from heart and lung damage caused by COVID-19. Music therapists have long used exercises involving singing and wind instruments to help treat respiratory ailments, and several studies are now examining how the therapy could be used to aid the recovery of "long COVID" -- where symptoms of the virus persist for weeks or months.
Experts around the world are concerned about a shortage of health care workers as the pandemic leads to exhaustion, burnout -- and sometimes even death. The World Health Organization warns COVID-19 has claimed the lives of at least 115,000 health care workers globally. Many frontline health workers lack access to vaccines that could help protect them on the job, and personal protective equipment is often designed to fit men, even though women make up 70% of health care workers. Several organizations are calling for mandatory vaccinations for health professionals, while a study in Colorado aims to uncover what drives health workers to leave their profession.
Parents of preschoolers who binged on the popular English kids' show "Peppa Pig" over the last year are reporting an unusual pandemic side effect: British accents. Pre-kindergarten fans of the show, which was the second most popular cartoon in the US in the last month, are begging "mummy" to "turn the telly on" and give them one more "biscuit" before bed.