Food Week June 14 – 20, 2021

Happy Fathers Day weekend for Food Week June 14. We’ve uncovered articles about the growth of independent supermarkets, price fixing in the meat industry, the persistence of hygiene theater, tiger tail ice cream and the best way to cook your shrimp. Other stuff too. Enjoy!

MACRO

  • Food week June 14 saw openings everywhere but vaccination rates slowing. Delta variant a concern.
  • Restaurants still finding it hard to get workers but good pay rates sure help
  • Financial and employment markets have steady growth

RETAIL AND CONSUMER

  • I tend to think about supermarkets in terms of chains and they seem to dominate. But independent supermarkets make up a third of the industry and are taking an ever larger market share.
  • A cashier in a Georgia supermarket asked a customer to adjust his mask. So he shot her.
  • Meat production has gone through massive consolidation. As a result the industry is dominated by just few companies. Price fixing is an inevitable consequence, as competitors use various techniques to ‘signal’ pricing More investigtions are coming and the reputation of the industry will continue to decline.
  • A great little feature of Home Depots in Chicago is the hot dog stand in the front. They are so good I sometimes stop even though I am not that hungry. The sausage is excellent and the get the balance of ingredients right. Here are their secrets.

RESTAURANTS AND FOODSERVICE

  • Restaurants that sued over SBA loans to minorities claiming discrimination took hundreds of thousands in relief funds.
  • The Waffle House loser punishment is a news story that keeps getting repeated. Summing them up: a guy finishes last in his fantasy league and he has to stay at WH for 24 hours, with each waffle eaten reducing the sentence by an hour. I hope this is the first and last you hear of this story.
  • A critique of hygiene theater. Restaurants are still engaging in practically worthless exercises cleaning surfaces when they could be spending that money upgrading ventilation systems
  • The problem of making people want to work in food service crosses borders. Improve pay and improve conditions if you want workers.

FOOD SUPPLY CHAIN

  • An English company has developed facial recognition for pigs. This will be used to find sick or distressed animals but also what makes them happy.
  • Investment continues to flow into Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA). The latest deal is for Bounti.
  • During COVID a lot of people learned to bake. Now they are learning to be entrepreneurs.
  • Only the desperate and dispossessed work in the fields. Farmworkers face heat related deaths at 35 time the rate of the average worker. It will be hotter now and even hotter later. At some point their desperation will hit a limit and – like restaurant workers – and just go away.

LAGNIAPPE

  • 19 restaurant workers in Pakistan found themselves in jail when they wouldn’t give the cops free burgers.
  • Tiger tail ice cream is a huge thing in Canada. Licorice and orange ice cream sounds awesome.
  • Steakhouse butter is compound butter. Compound butter is easy. Compound butter is good.
  • Steeping is a better way to prepare shrimp. You put a paper towel in a colander, put the raw shrimp in and then simply pour hot water over the shrimp, Stir them around a little and let the water slowly drain out. (Make sure you have it over the sink or some other way of catching the water!) As a result you will have perfect, al dente shrimp. This Bon Appetit article talks about other fish and steeping

Leave a Reply