The Week in Food: August 31 -September 5, 2020

You made it through another week! Grab your beverage of choice and enjoy a fork pitch collection of developments and articles interest in the food business. Among other things, Nestle is investing a peanut anti-allergy company, the Amazon/WalMart rivalry and changing grocery shopping patterns, rising desperation in the restaurant industry and phones growing on trees.


  • The economy and job market show gradual improvement. The indexes crashed but watching them is like looking into a fun house mirror.
  • US lags way behind other countries in seated diners. I think this is a pretty good lagging indicator of a nation’s ability to control spread of COVID.


  • Nestle made a significant investment in a company that has a therapy to ameliorate peanut allergies. While Nestle has other product lines like infant formula that are more than just food products, this represents an even harder turn into science. One can see how there may be long term strategic opportunities for a company to market peanuts as a food and an ingredient in markets where they have been banned. Generally good news for parents with allergic kids.
  • USDA relents and will provide all school children free school lunch, at least for the time being.


  • WalMart launches WalMart+ as a alternative to Amazon Prime. Positioning will be more about price and delivery as opposed to premium services and content from Amazon. It seems this is a firebreak on WalMart part to prevent loss of share in a variety of sectors as the world turns to Amazon’s ‘get everything here’ strategy.
  • Not to belabor the point, Amazon Fresh store launches in California. And redundantly, they also opened a delivery-only store in Brooklyn. Making the Sears Roebuck catalog look like a brochure.
  • Being an Instacart shopper is no fun.
  • Target’s expands its Whole Food’s fighter

Restaurants and Foodservice

  • The state of the industry from Open Table.
  • Takeout won’t save restaurants. Here is a great explainer why.
  • The sophistication curve for ghost kitchens is steep. Kitchen to Kitchen is an emerging chain in the space. The specter of ghost kitchens looms over the industry.
  • The food service and restaurant industry employs 25 million people. It desperately needs a bailout.

Food Supply

  • Meatpacking remains a really horrifying job. Perhaps this from Tyson means things are changing. We’ll see…
  • I try not to be cynical – it comes to me naturally. But I do finding the hopeful naivete in the headline on this article about onions endearing: “If We get Foodservice Back to Normal it’ll be a Great Market.”
  • The Trump Administration is pushing expansion of aquaculture. Environmental and sustainability groups pushing back. These concerns aside, farmed fish doesn’t taste as good nor is it as nutritious with pandemic economics.


  • The importance of Vitamin C in our diets increases as we age,
  • Phones don’t grow on trees. But grocery contract delivery people may make it seem so.

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