The Burger Boom Rolls On

NPD-Count-Chart-2014The number of independent burger restaurants continues to increase at a rate faster than those for chain burger units, all quick-service or the total restaurant industry. According to a recent report in Burger Business, the indie burger segment increased 7.2% in the last year, leading all restaurant segments in growth. This year’s increase is more than twice the 2.9% growth indie burgers achieved the previous year.NPD-Count-Chart-2014

The fast-casual category continues to grow, although not as fast as indie burger joints. For the year, fast casual showed a 6% increase. The number of quick-service restaurants of all menu types increased 2%. The beleaguered full-service category (encompassing casual dining, midscale/family dining and fine dining) saw a 1% unit decline.

Said Greg Starzynski, NPD Foodservice director of product management, “The restaurant recovery continues to move slowly and as a result operators are taking a cautious approach to expansion. This conservative approach to restaurant unit expansion will continue into the foreseeable future.”

NPD conducts a census of restaurant outlets twice each year.

Game Meat: A Complex Food Safety and Animal Health Issue

By Patrice N. Klein, MS, VMD, DACPV, DACVPM for Food Safety Magazine

deerWhen people talk about eating meat, the images that typically come to mind are beef, turkey, chicken, pork or lamb. These meats and products that contain them are widely available throughout the country and are favorites of many families. However, there is a category of meats from non-domesticated animals—game meats—that also can be found in markets and restaurants throughout the United States. Although they represent only a small portion of the U.S. market their popularity is growing. This article identifies many common game meat species and discusses some of the food safety and regulatory issues associated with game meats, including the legality of importing certain species of meats from other countries.

The Growth of the Industry
The farmed game animal industry is diverse and has seen unprecedented growth since the 1970s. Its rapid growth in recent years is largely due to consumer demand for low-fat products and interest in alternative food products. In 2003, the North American Elk Breeders Association’s estimated that there were about 110,000 elk on 2,300 U.S. farms valued at more than $150 million….