The Week in Food: November 30 – December 5, 2020

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.

MACRO

  • 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:

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

LAGNIAPPE

  • Happy 1020th (not a typo) birthday for mochi shop in Tokyo. IIRC that means the shop is older than, among other things, Tokyo.
  • Making whiskey barrels.
  • Hunters historically have given meat to food banks. But now it is drying up just when the food banks could use it the most.

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