Challenging Success

The National Restaurant Association's, Washington, 2003 Restaurant Industry Forecast predicts a strong 2003 for foodservice around the country. The $426.1 billion in projected sales for 2003 would be a 4.5% improvement over 2002's totals. When adjusted for inflation, respondents believed restaurant industry sales would jump 1.8% in 2003, the 12th consecutive year of real growth in the industry.

That 1.8% growth is a modest improvement over the 1.3% real gain posted in 2002, a challenging year economically.

The year will benefit from an improving economy, as well as continuing growth in disposable personal income. On a typical 2003 day, the National Restaurant Association notes, the industry as a whole will post average sales approaching $1.2 billion. Despite the economy's upswing, the industry's gain will be short of growth rates posted between 1992 and 2000.

Leading the sales growth in 2003 will be the 4.8% increase posted in the full-service sector, growing $7 billion from 2002 to $153.2 billion for the year. Sales for quick-service establishments will expand 4.1% this year to $120.9 billion.

This positive news does not mean the year will be without any challenges. Recruiting and retaining employees tops the list of concerns faced by quick-service operators, followed closely by building and maintaining sales volume. Full-service operators, on the other hand, regard the sluggish economy as their biggest challenge in the coming year.

For more information on the 2003 Restaurant Industry Forecast, contact the National Restaurant Association, 202-331-5900.

From Beer to Eternity

A survey by Japan's Kirin Brewery, Tokyo, found that beer consumption grew for the 16th consecutive year in 2001, jumping 2.1% to 139.34 million kiloliters. Now, as if consumers need more reason to imbibe, researchers in Israel have found the drink may have a healthful benefit.

The preliminary study by Shela Gorinstein of Hebrew University, Jerusalem, involved 48 males suffering from coronary artery disease. Though the beer involved in the study was locally made Maccabee, supplied by Tempo Beer Industries, Gorinstein believes any beer would have the same effect.

Published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the study found beer consumption causes structural changes in the blood-clotting protein fibrinogen to make it less active.

The test subjects were divided equally into a control group that drank mineral water and a treatment group that consumed a can or bottle of beer a day for 30 consecutive days. The diets for both groups were rich in fruits and vegetables during the 30-day period. In 21 of the 24 beer drinkers, researchers found beneficial changes in blood chemicals associated with a lower risk of heart attacks. Changes included a decrease in LDL, an increase in HDL, an increase in antioxidant levels and a decrease in levels and activity of fibrinogen.

The news surrounding beer is not entirely positive, however. Researchers with London's Cancer Research UK have found that a woman's risk of breast cancer increased by 6% with every extra alcoholic drink she consumes daily. The study, published in the British Journal of Cancer, did not clarify whether the increased relative risk was a result of current alcohol consumption or if it was based on long-term or past drinking habits. Admittedly unsure as to the relationship between alcohol and breast cancer, researchers speculated that alcohol may affect estrogen levels.

Sidebar: THE IN BOX

Robertet Flavors Inc., Piscataway, N.J., has named Paul Shapiro director of corporate information technology responsible for all IT and communications for Robertet in the U.S. Midwest Dairy Association, an affiliate of Dairy Management Inc., Rosemont, Ill., has named Mary Higgins manager of ingredient marketing.

Cargill Sweeteners North America, Minneapolis, has formed a marketing alliance with the Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative (SMBSC) to sell and distribute its sugar products to food and beverage manufacturers. The agreement will become effective upon expiration of SMBSC's current contract with United Sugars Corp., or when an early exit is agreed upon.

National Starch & Chemical Co., Bridgewater, N.J., has acquired the resistant starch business and the worldwide rights to the broad technology and intellectual property portfolio in high amylose resistant starch from Penford Australia Ltd.

Effective January 1, 2003, Warner-Jenkinson became Sensient Colors.

David Michael & Co., Philadelphia, has named Erin Kate O'Donnell marketing coordinator at the company's Philadelphia headquarters. In addition, the company has hired Gordon Yu as regional sales manager for southern and eastern China.

Astaris LLC, St. Louis, has hired Paul L. Howes as president and chief executive officer.

Eastman Chemical Co., Kingsport, Tenn., appointed Roberta (Bobbi) J. Buford as market development executive for the performance chemicals and intermediates business organization. Her primary product focus will be on Sustane SAIB beverage weighting agents, Eastman Vitamin E TPGS (water-soluble) and Tenox antioxidants. Furthermore, the Sustane trademark is a new addition to the company's food-grade line of sucrose acetate isobutyrate (SAIB) products.

RFI Ingredients, Blauvelt, N.Y., and Nat-Trop, San Leandro, Calif., have signed a merger agreement whereby RFI will take over all Nat-Trop operations, with Nat-Trop becoming a brand name under RFI.

Delta Pride Catfish Inc., Indianola, Miss., has named Steve Osso president and chief executive officer. Wisconsin Cheese Group, Monroe, Wisc., was sold to Main Street Capital Holdings LLC.

Mozzarella Fresca Inc., Benicia, Calif., is now certifying as kosher its mascarpone and ricotta cheeses.