Number of U.S. Restaurants Goes Down; Cocoa Prices Go Up

• The number of U.S. restaurants declined in 2010 and is expected to do so again in 2011, with independent outlets hit the hardest. [NRN]

• Food and drink makers have teamed up with U.S. grocers to create new nutritional labels for the front of food packages. Naturally, there are already critics who say they are just trying to get a jump on pending legislation. [Reuters]

• Hook up with a Top Chef star? Now you can blog about it, like The Frisky’s Rachel Kramer Bussel. She might kiss and tell, but unfortunately, she doesn’t name names. [Eater]

• Time to stock up, chocoholics: Political strife in Ivory Coast will likely cause cocoa prices to rise. Also going up: prices at McDonald’s! [USAT, USAT]

• Quit treating rosé like a froofy, pink summer accessory: it tastes great year-round! [NYT]

• Just when we thought we had balanced nutrition figured out, here comes one U.K. expert arguing that fruits and vegetables are “pretty useless.” [Daily Mail UK]

• As food costs go up, people are increasingly heading to smaller discount grocers like Save-A-Lot and Grocery Outlet, which are in turn rapidly expanding. [USAT]

• If the Super Bowl goes into overtime, Papa John’s will give away a free pizza to anyone registered in the chain’s loyalty program. Don’t worry, they’ll let you redeem it later instead of missing the last few seconds of the game. [Pop Candy/USAT]

• File under disgusting: The outside of raw chicken packages are covered in way more bacteria than the meat itself. [Telegraph UK]

Number of U.S. Restaurants Goes Down; Cocoa Prices Go Up