Beef Products Inc Reports Sales Climb, Plans to Reopen Kansas Facility
Everyone in the food production and processing industries remembers the term “pink slime” and the havoc that it caused in 2012. Beef processing company Beef Product Inc (BPI) was hit especially hard throughout the scandal, closing three of its four facilities and filing for bankruptcy as sales plummeted while fast food franchises and retailers distanced themselves from its controversial “lean finely textured beef” products.
But where BPI was once hanging on by a thread, now it’s preparing for a comeback. The company has announced that sales are up, and that’s allowing it to start ramping up operations.
Today CNN reports that revenue is improving at Beef Products Inc. thanks to an overall rise in beef sales and demand despite higher prices for beef as a commodity. According to BPI, this combination of circumstances has led producers and retailers to start thinking twice about how much they want to let go of less expensive ground beef options.
That rising demand for cheaper ground beef filler on the rise is putting BPI back in the saddle. The company itself has not yet updated its website with any press releases since 2013, but reached out to media outlets with the news that it is reopening one of the three production facilities that were shut down as BPI declared bankruptcy in April of 2012:
This could be the beginning of an interesting new trend in food production and food processing. It has been years since the term “pink slime” has been kicked around in the media in earnest – as commodity costs rise, will the pressure to keep costs down cause a more widespread return to lean finely textured beef as a staple ingredient? Will producers and retailers reintroduce it quietly or – following the lead of Cargill, who has promised to clearly label all of its products containing finely textured meat products – will a greater effort be made to keep consumers informed?
At any rate, Beef Products Inc. has at least succeeded in surviving the worst of times and is now looking forward to what the future might hold.
Tech firm BestBees helps honey bees with remote monitoring
The global honey industry was worth an estimated $9.2b in 2020. Out of the 100 crop species which feed 90% of the world's population, 70 of them are pollinated by bees. In addition, 1.4b farming jobs, depend on the pollination of crops carried out by bees.
Bees are vitally important to planet earth and everyone on it - but they are in danger. Between April 2019 and 2020, 43% of US hives were lost. Bee hives have been devastated by:
- Climate change
Tech firms have taken on one of the world’s oldest occupations, beekeeping, in order to maintain the welfare of the the mighty bumblebee.
Best Bees Company bumbles forward
US business, Best Bees Company, was shocked at the plight of the American bee colonies.
Best Bees install hives and then use an advanced software system to monitor and record the health of each bee hive.
"We are looking at why thriving beehives live", said Wilson-Rich, chief scientific officer at Best Bees. "We need to understand why they're doing better. With that research data we can get wonderful benefits... it is telling us how the bees are actually doing."
Best Bees also harvests and bottles the honey for the property owners, of where the hives sit, to enjoy.
The data is being shared with Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where researchers are trying to understand and assist the bees in their duty.
Tech saves beekeepers time and labour
The Irish business ApisProtect is also utilising technology to help the bees, through their wireless in-hive sensors, which transmit data.
"We collect temperature, humidity, sound and acceleration [of the bees flying out of the hive] data," said Fiona Edwards Murphy, chief executive "What we do is extract those raw data points and then use machine learning to convert that into useful information. We tell the beekeeper, for example, which hives are growing and which hives are shrinking, or which hives are alive and which hives are dead."
The technology means beekeepers no longer have to manually inspect hives, which saves time and effort and allows the bees to go about their business uninterrupted.
"In a commercial operation only about 20% of hives at any given time need intervention," concludes Edwards Murphy. "The problem is that beekeepers don't know which 20%. They literally go out and pick around a hive to see if it's the one they should be looking at. What we do is enable them to get a picture of what's happening in all their hives, spread across a large area, before they even leave their office in the morning. For commercial beekeepers, we see a 50% reduction in labour costs. That obviously has a huge impact on the business of beekeeping."