Happy weekend. Grab a cup o’ joe (or cocktail if it is after 5 anywhere) and catch up on this weeks happenings in the world of food. We saw Nestle and Cargill try to justify purchases from cocoa sources using slave labor, oat milk investment, a 1020 year old mochi shop, sesame as a regulated food allergen and Saint Jose.
- November had strongest market gains in 30 years and unemployment fell to 6.7%.
- Job creation very weak and below expectations. Restaurants are not hiring.
- We are getting a 9/11 everyday with COVID; vaccines are coming but we are a long way from normal.
RETAIL AND CONSUMER:
- Not surprisingly, Black Friday online sales set a new record.
- Sesame added to the list of ingredients called out for allergens.
- Kroger wants to participate in vaccine distribution.
- A big future for oat milk?
RESTAURANTS AND FOODSERVICE:
- Jose Andres says he’s not superman. Okay, then he’s a saint.
- Chicken sandwiches experienced huge growth in 2020. Interestingly, Grubhub saw vegetarian/vegan sales decline – attributed perhaps to a move to comfort food.
- Door Dash aiming for IPO. Look at market cap north of $25 billion. Pretty good for a company that doesn’t turn a profit.
- Raging COVID leads to more closings and restrictions on bars and restaurants.
- If a restaurant tells you they have cheap Kobe beef, don’t believe them.
FOOD SUPPLY CHAIN:
- It sure seems likely that Nestle and Cargill bought cocoa from farms using child slave labor. And they are willing to go to court to defend their right to do so.
- Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act or PACA is something I am learning about. PACA provides an administrative forum to handle disputes involving produce transactions. It keeps produce disputes out of courts, which would destroy smaller growers.
- Something we’ve been tracking for awhile: China keeps rejecting food shipments because they find traces of COVID 19 on packaging. THE WHO and other authorrities don’t believe this is a threat. Most of the controversy seems to be driven by a researcher in Singapore. China has already banned meat shipments from Corona virus hotspots back in August