The Week in Food: March 15 – 21, 2021

fork pitch weekly food update

Happy Friday. Please enjoy the fork pitch summary of the world of food for the week of March 15. Grocery delivery is about to undergo a major change. The fish industry is full of misleading practices but may not be full of yellow fin soon. Removing restrictions isn’t a panacea for restaurants. Trawling is terrible for the environment. And there was a moment in 1976 when people began to take California wines seriously. Enjoy

MACRO

  • Jobless claims rose slightly.
  • Leading economic indicators are positive after $1.9t COVID rescue plan passes.  
  • Universal eligibility for vaccines is spreading rapidly from state to state.
  • Is a 4 day work week on the way?

RETAIL AND CONSUMER

  • Grocery delivery fell off 14% in February vs. January. This was mostly from home delivery while pick up increase. People are going out but they are still slow to re-enter stores.
  • With the end of the pandemic in sight, companies like Door Dash and Uber Eats will now try to pivot to grocery delivery as their food service business shrinks. Grocery delivery has been a notoriously difficult space to make money in. We will now see whether investments in their infrastructure and technology, made possible by the profits of the last year, are sufficient to make a difference.
  • Fish fraud on a global scale. A big part of the issue is Labeling. 70% of fish labeled “snapper” in the UK were not actually snapper. US is not much better.
  • The Venn diagram resembles a circle. Whole Foods Market announced a collaboration with meditation app developer Headspace to  help consumers get positive vibes about the food for sale..

RESTAURANTS AND FOODSERVICE

  • COVID babies: Opening a restaurant in a pandemic is a terrible idea. Except when it isn’t. Knowing how to survive when things are in semi-lockdown makes for robust operation.
  • Not All Restaurants. Many restaurateurs are choosing to continue restricting dining at levels lower than allowed. The people interviewed seem to be particularly aware of the science and the risks of fully opening. They have survived and adjusted and so they would rather ‘limp’ along for a few more months than endanger themselves, their employees and their diners.

FOOD SUPPLY CHAIN

  • Food exports to Asia hurt by the lack of containers. Refrigerated containers are often re-purposed for more profitable goods. Dozens of ships are waiting their turn to unload at overwhelmed West Coast ports. Because of changes in demand for pandemic products like technology and exercise equipment plus weather issues has the global supply chain on the brink.
  • Trawling as a method of catching seafood produces more atmospheric carbon that the entire aviation industry!
  • Vaccinating farm workers should be easy if they want the jab. It isn’t.
  • Over fishing and climate change about to cause a catastrophic drop of yellow-fin tuna populations.

LAGNIAPPE

  • The charcuterie wars have a heavy toll: The New York Times is bowing out of moderating the foodie facebook group it started.
  • In 1976, a blind tasting between California and French wines turned the world upside down. Here is a brief biography of the man who instigated it.
  • Koresh-e Fesenjoon:.Persian Chicken Stew with Walnuts and pomegranate. We try to support our local and favorite restaurants but sometimes we are reminded of spots you’ve neglected. Reza’s in Lombard IL has not gotten my attention recently and I hope to remedy that. You just hope these places have held on.
  • Hasselback potatoes? A great way to get a cottage-fries like results from a baked potato. Gonna try it.
  • This product is for people who want to make alcohol-free cocktails with the same flavor profile or lower proof versions by mixing.

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