stainless steel cooking pot on stove

The Week in Food: February 15 – 21, 2021

Weather is terrible almost everywhere so distract yourself for a moment with our update of the world in food. This week we saw feta shortages, PR disasters for grocers, adults buying Happy Meals for Pokemon cards, changes to Japanese whiskey and the Sturgeon General. Stay warm!

MACRO

  • Guarded optimism about overall economy.
  • ┬áMore than 5% of Americans fully vaccinated and 12% have at least one shot. It’s a race to get people immunized before variants spread. Enough shots for everyone by July 4.
  • Storms across the south and west impact foodservice, retail and supply. Relief only coming now on Friday. Texas freeze expected to impact leafy greens and onions in trouble, among other things. I never got my Ruby Red grapefruit this year – am I doomed to miss them altogether?

RETAIL AND CONSUMER

  • OKI! No feta to be found in many places because of a TikTok video.
  • This is about to be a PR disaster for Kroger. Less so in markets where they compete with Publix, who has their own issues.
  • Because of product mix – many of its top sellers are consumed outside the home, like Kit Kat bars – Nestle has not done as well as some other brands during the pandemic.
  • Many large, animal-based protein brands are hedging their bets but taking stakes in plant-based methods. Danone Group is merely the latest.
  • Hunger, activism and failed refrigeration give Fred Meyer store a headache.

RESTAURANTS AND FOODSERVICE

  • 3 of the 5 places you are most likely to catch COVID from a Johns Hopkins study are bars, restaurants and cafes.
  • This story is pitched as dueling studies about increases to the minimum wage but what the restaurant association did was not really social science and was frankly much closer to propaganda. Asking members leading questions about increased wages reveals only the agenda of the organization. Strange how they got the same results as the positions they were pushing.
  • I’m sure McDonalds is all ‘Oh no! stop buying all our Happy Meals for the Pokemon cards, you adults!’
  • Who says ice cream is bad for you? Founder of Friendly’s dies, but he made it to 106.

FOOD SUPPLY CHAIN

  • European concern Total Produce is merging with Dole to form produce company with revenues approaching $10 billion.
  • Little Leaf, another controlled environment (CEA) grower (greenhouse), attracts funding.
  • Some increases in core retail products due to increases in commodity prices.
  • There has been a steady stream of science that demonstrates that COVID can’t be transmitted on surfaces like packaging. Here’s some more. About the only people who push notions to the contrary are the Chinese, though I suspect that there may be alternative motives regarding trade and protectionism.

LAGNIAPPE

  • Tighter regulations on what can be called Japanese Whiskey. If you are a whiskey drinker and you haven’t tried them, they are remarkable. Hibiki is particular is like a greatest hits of whiskey, with sequential flavors from different styles. Absolutely amazing.
  • I love my gas stove but reality is their days are numbered.
  • The Sturgeon General pun has been laying around idle for decades. It finally found a use as a Wisconsin Wildlife Official is caught bogarting tens of thousands in caviar.
  • Are there certain foods you can become addicted to?
  • TIL about no-recipe cooking, or as I call it, cooking.

Leave a Reply