COVID Concerns in China and Restaurant Business Down in 2020
**The commodity markets came under pressure last week as traders tried to shed risk over shipping concerns in China, driven by fresh COVID-19 concerns that caused officials to shut down much of its transportation.
All this comes as officials work to contain an outbreak of a highly transmissible Omincron variant.
Restrictions are in place until April 3rd.
Shanghai has been the world's busiest port for container volumes since 2010.
**New data from the Plant Based Foods Association shows U.S. retail sales of plant-based foods grew 6.2% in 2021 over a record year of growth in 2020.
The total plant-based market value reached an all-time high of $7.4 billion.
Overall, plant-based food retail sales grew three times faster than total food retail sales, with most plant-based categories outpacing conventional.
2021 plant-based meat dollar sales remained strong, delivering a repeat year of $1.4 billion in sales, and growing 74% the past three years.
**Not a big surprise, but USDA's Economic Research Service data shows restaurant transactions fell 47% in 2020, following the start of the COVID pandemic.
As you recall, many state and local governments implemented social distancing measures, stay-at-home orders, and the mandatory closures in high-risk industries.
Restaurants were often included, which forced many to close their dining rooms, if not the entire business, sharply reducing restaurant visits.