The Week in Food: September 28 – October 3, 2020

The end of another insane week in an insane year. Grab a beverage and enjoy some of the goings on in the food world. Among other things we learned that people are moving back to coffee, robots are taking over the (retail) world, remembered the crazy days of fast food buffets, were exposed to the Okinawan diet and realized how important immigrant labor is.


  • Our version of the plague of Justinian continues a new kind of chaos in the White House as COVID runs rampant
  • The job market slows, markets dither.
  • Young people say they aren’t going to have kids because of climate change

Grocery and Consumer

  • Schnuck’s is using scanning technology to check for out of codes, thereby further emphasizing the center of the store is lifeless.
  • Old school: people moving back to coffee from energy drinks for the overall boosting needs.
  • Speaking of robotics, Save Mart announced that it is expanding its contactless delivery program in partnership with Starship Technologies. Starship has made over half a million autonomous deliveries.
  • Oat milk now now number 2 as milk substitute.

Restaurants and Foodservice

  • Whether you are a fan of McDonalds food or not, their ability to deliver on their food promises is second to none. No matter where you go, if you see a McDonald’s, you know what you are going to get. They have always sought very long term relationships with their strategic suppliers and OSI is just one example. It has allowed the company to have stable quality and supply and their partners have grown with them.
  • A wistful, nay magical, remembrance of the era of fast food buffets. When I first started selling chain account these were all the rage. Particularly odd was the Wendy’s potato buffet. You bought a baked potato and they had a bar of toppings: sour cream, bacon, lettuce, cheeses, chives, chili , etc. Whatever you could slather on it. You could easily get to a daily portion of calories on a single potato.
  • Though I would give Dookie Chase a slight edge for the best fried chicken in the world, I would love to try this sandwich from the great Willie Mae’s . I hope these sorts of promotions will help some of the good folks in NOLA keep their places afloat.
  • Landlords can foreclose on restaurants but if no other potential renters exist, why do it?

Food Supply

  • The entire food industry depends upon immigrant labor. These are not people with the resources and wherewithal to apply and wait for visa approval. They are just like my ancestors and probably your ancestors who came in here seeking a better life. And they are no more ‘illegal’ than mine were. To cut off this supply of the next American is to damage our economy and to hurt our national vitality.
  • I don’t think of Ecuador as a big banana exporter but it almost surpassed oil as a generator of revenue during the spring; changes in demand for both commodities due to COVID. Then a volcano erupted. It has not been a good year for Ecuador as they were hit hard with COVID. I visited some plants there in February and was very impressed with the food industry there. Let’s they weather the storm.


  • It’s hard to get good PR in an era of conspiracy theories. Jeni’s Ice Cream had a weird week.
  • Here is one of those great articles that tells me something that I already do is smart. (My favorite kind, really) Frying in your eggs in a whole bunch of butter makes them taste wonderful, give you melted butter for your toast and really adds little in the way of calories. What ever happened to butter coffee?
  • The picture up top is Chanpuru. Is the Okinawan diet the next big thing? Do we really need a diet next big thing?
  • Maybe relatedly, Jerk snacks are down.
  • New science on viruses that attack gut flora.


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