A Happy Memorial Day from Food Week May 24! This week we learned about how unemployment benefits are not keeping employees from working at restaurants, the future of ghost kitchens, how to get salmonella from your back yard, that Costco is bringing back sampling, and how to cook your cicadas. Enjoy! (The update, if not the insects)
- Half of US adults are fully vaccinated
- Jobless claims fell almost 10%
- People aren’t exactly rushing back to the office:
RETAIL AND CONSUMER
- The next premium ceiling for eggs – sustainable, using regenerative agriculture. And probably not just for eggs. Sustainability will be the new organic.
- Oh boy, Costco is bringing back sampling. As a result, I get to be pushed by old ladies and fat kids who think that a chicken portion worth $.15 is the most desirous object in the cosmos. I really like Costco but samples, or more accurately those sampling, are a big negative.
- Not satisfied with just having Whole Foods, Amazon will next open pharmacies.
- Kind is the Pablo Picasso of branding – you never know what direction they will take next. Now frozen desserts because…. why not?
RESTAURANTS AND FOODSERVICE
- The Hamptons are experiencing staffing issues. But like everywhere else the reasons are not so simple. The Washington Post decided to ask ex-restaurant workers why they aren’t coming back. It isn’t unemployment benefits – they’ve moved on to other industries.
- Are there no limits to what Starbucks will put in a cup? Five bananas, caramel drizzle, heavy cream and extra whipped cream, and seven pumps of dark caramel sauce? A barista pointed it out on social media and when he did, he got fired.
- My initial reaction to QSRs expanding ghost kitchen operations even after COVID was one of puzzlement. But I think I understand. Like it or not, their profitability is not dependent on experience or setting. It is merely about providing a ready to eat offering. If the product is relatively hot and fresh, it doesn’t matter how it gets to the consumer. Stripped down operations offer margin and efficiency opportunities.
- You’d think that in a pandemic, when everyone is home, food delivery services could make a killing. Nope.
- Subway has decided to punish its franchisees for its falling sales. This should go well.
FOOD SUPPLY CHAIN
- A persistent, crazy idea is that food-borne illness only comes from processing plants. Salmonella is in nature. And it is in your backyard chickens. Buying eggs locally or from farmers market does not reduce risk.
- The pandemic has made people think differently about their gardens. As a consequence, there has been a run on fruit trees in Florida.
- Vertical farming continues to attract big investor dollars.
- Oleo Saccharum is an old drink trick that can upgrade from simple syrup in drinks. It’s also a great way to repurpose peels, as we’ve written about before.
- Cooking oils have different smoke points. This is important because smoke is a sign that heat is causing your oil to break down. As a result, this changes the flavor of the oil – and what is cooking in it – to the worse.
- Loquats thrive in Los Angeles. They are everywhere and it seems nobody eats them.