Category Archives: Elections

Coming Election Cited For Slower Fast Food Sales


A growing number of restaurant chain executives says consumer uncertainty about the upcoming election is negatively impacting sales in their stores. Some  chains, according to a recent article in Nation’s Restaurant News, have seen sharp sales drops in recent months.

Among the latest executives to blame the election was Greg Creed, Yum! Brands Inc. CEO. Yum owns and operates KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut stores across the U.S. and, to a lesser degree, abroad.

“It goes without saying that people are trying to decide who to choose and what the impact will be on the economy, and I think people are maybe just hunkering down a little bit,” he said during the company’s third-quarter earnings call last Thursday.

Earlier this summer, The Wendy’s Co. CEO Todd Penegor also cited the uncertainty. “When a consumer is a little uncertain around their future and really trying to figure out what this election cycle really means to them, they’re not as apt to spend as freely as they might have even just a couple of quarters ago,” he said.

In August, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen Inc. CFO William Matt struck a similar chord. “What we also see is that there is a little more uncertainty with the consumer,” he said. “We’re not too sure what’s causing that, but our speculation would be, we think there is a rather unusual election going on and we think that unusual election is causing some uncertainty.”

Well, we (at know something else that is pulling fast-feeders sales down: The growing shifts, among consumers, for healthier fare, for organic foods, and for more nutritious foods.

We’ve reported on this before – particularly on how Millennials are opting for healthier foods and for eating at home as many as six, seven nights per week – and we will be reporting on it more in coming weeks.

We’ll also be watching restaurant sales, to see if they do go up after the election – regardless of who wins!


Taiwan’s New President-Elect May Ease Pork Growth Aid Ban

tsai ing-wen

Taiwan elected its first female head of state Saturday (Jan. 16), and based on her comments in a debate last month, Tsai Ing-wen could be prepared to ease her country’s stance on the import of U.S.-produced pork fed with an additive other candidates opposed.

During several years it was banned in Taiwan for use in beef cattle and swine, ractopamine, a chemical compound used to promote growth and leanness, could not be contained in either pork or beef (mainly steak) from the U.S. The ban on imports of ractopamine-enhanced beef was raised in 2012, and the continuing ban on the import of pork containing it was a major issue in the just-completed election campaign.

Of the three candidates for president, only pro-independence candidate Tsai Ing-wen suggested she’d favor reviewing (and possibly limiting or lifting) the ractopamine-in-ban “compare[d] with Japan and Korea’s experience.” Both those countries have, since 2012, had standards called Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) that effectively prohibit imports of beef or pork with above-the-maximum amounts of ractopamine residue.

An excellent explanation of what ractopamine is and how it works is available on the American Institute in Taiwan web site. It’s introduction notes that: “Ractopamine hydrochloride is a feed ingredient that helps increase the animals’ ability to efficiently turn what they eat into lean muscle rather than fat. This leads to reduced feed demand, less waste and higher quality and more affordable meat for consumers. The United States has approved the use of ractopamine in cattle since 2003. Major beef producing or importing countries, including Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Canada and many others, have also determined that meat from animals fed ractopamine is safe for human consumption.

Ractopamine is sold under the brand name Optaflexx for use with cattle and Paylean for use with pigs.”

In her debate comments, Tsai Ing-wen noted that, “To ensure food safety, the source of all food should be made clear and rigorous examinations should be required.” Whether or not that statement – that concept – will move from campaign rhetoric to an altering of Taiwan’s position relative to ractopamine in imported pork remains to be seen. But one thing’s for sure: There is a better chance the ban will be reduced or lifted under her presidency than would have been the case if either of her opponents were elected.