person holding sliced avocado

The Week in Food: October 12 -18, 2020

Another week has passed. This week we saw turkey and candy manufacturers struggle with a COVID holiday season, ways to ripen avocados, explored the future of shoppable recipes and the immutable fragility of the Twinkie.

Macro

  • Weekly jobless claims continue to rise, approaching 900k. This will contribute to a weakening economy, even if the markets aren’t reflecting it…
  • …and COVID is coming back with a vengeance
  • Liquor sales have skyrocketed since March 1. I wonder why?

Retail and consumer

  • Let’s talk Turkey Producers are adjusting, trying to market smaller birds for what will be a holiday with smaller gatherings. (Jeez, I hope.)
  • Speaking of holiday consumption, being a candy brand is kind of tricky right now. We are 2 weeks from Halloween and we don’t yet have a plan for trick-or-treaters. But I’m pretty sure candy credits are not going to cut it.
  • Kroger has a ghost kitchen concept with a partner called Clustertruck (golf clap for the name), offering fresh prepared meals without service or delivery fees.
  • I think if shoppable recipes are to find a niche – they will need a supply partner to champion. Otherwise I think they just lead to frustration as substitutions and outages are frequent aspects of shopping services

Restaurants and Food service.

  • Delivery fees is why restaurant deliveries are so high. But the chains are inflating to drive you back to direct service rather than Door Dash, Grubhub etc.
  • Restaurants are facing COVID winter. Restaurants could be on the hook for taxes on forgiven PPP loans. Because, you know, when it rains, it pours.
  • Canada moves towards no-tipping.
  • Pilgrim’s Pride pays a hefty fine for price fixing.

Food Supply Chain

  • From a health perspective almost nothing better than the avocado. They are, however, notoriously fickle and getting them exactly ripe is a relentless task. Much like pears, a paper bag helps. Here is a list of avocado ripening hacks, a couple new to me. Still, it remains the Carmen of foods
  • In the 80s I worked for a company that did salads – both prepared and bagged. They chose potato salad and ham salad over bagged romaine because they couldn’t make money in the latter. How bagged salads have grown and how lettuce consumption has evolved
  • In Rome they had the salt mines. We created the modern meat plant. Deaths exceed 200, with more than 42000 worker testing positive since the onset of COVID.

Lagniappe

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