The end of winter is in sight. This week we saw Texas reverse any and all COVID restrictions, making for tough choices for retailers and restaurants, a glut of high-end wines, food prices going up, aquaculture in trouble and Froot Loops on pizza.
- Financial markets ping pong.
- Increase of 379k jobs in February and unemployment rate dipped to 6.2%.
- 83 million shots administered but Texas goes full Blutarsky with 0.0% restrictions for COVID.
RETAIL AND CONSUMER
- The Texas abdication of COVID measures puts retailers in a tricky spot.
- Meat Producers probably think they are being Cassandras by predicting a 10% market share for meat substitutes in 5 years – I think they are too low.
- Hello Fresh grew by almost 50% in 2020; Valuation of InstaCart at $39 billion after new round of fund raising.
- Grocery workers get vaccine priority in California and Washington.
- It remains amazing to me the absence of regulation in the supplement industry. It takes injury, lawsuits and a lot of time to get dangerous products off the market.
RESTAURANTS AND FOODSERVICE
- Research shows more mask usage in restaurants leads to less overall COVID. Stunning, I know, but the obtuse are still out there arguing otherwise.
- If you put in the work, it is a glorious time to be a wine drinker as slack restaurant demand is driving dealers to deal,
- Right by the top of the ‘Exorcist Stairs’ is 1789, on of DC’s oldest and most revered restaurants. However last time I went – maybe 10 years back – it was staid and lackluster. A new chef is said to be turning things around.
- Truffle oil is a scam and is disgusting. As someone who easily detects androstenone, all truffles have a ‘ unpleasant, sweaty, urinous smell…‘ However this documentary on Piedmontese truffle hunters looks pretty interesting.
FOOD SUPPLY CHAIN
- Issues for aquaculture – now larger in volume than wild caught – include animal welfare but also health, nutrition and sustainability.
- Food prices increased 3% in the US while the overall inflation rate was a little over 1%. Commodity and transportation costs were the driver. The Texas freeze out won’t help matters.
- Finally, meat plant workers are getting vaccinated. Relatedly, the problems with the meat supply chain are driving people to reconsider meat consumption.
- Crops rot in Australia without immigrants to pick them. Containers are also piling up in ports, threatening food exports.
- You’ll be hearing a lot about regenerative agriculture. However there is little incentive for large scale farms to adopt it. It will need be consumer driven.
- Study of mice that eat processed foods shows them developing gut flora that leads to obesity.
- TIL (that’s how the kids say Today I Learned) that Tofutti was invented for a kosher audience but found success with vegans and the lactose intolerant.
- People are worried about things that aren’t milk being called milk but is anything allowed to be called pizza?
- Very clever people who make vodkas out of excess baked goods.