Welcome to the fork pitch update of Food Week August 9, 2021. As usual for this time of the year, I have more tomatoes than I know what to do with. Food prices continued to go up just like the Dow, but at least French cheese will be cheaper. Vaccination wars are being played out in restaurants and food operations. The chicken industry is being pared down to just a couple of suppliers and California prepares to institute its new rules for pigs and chickens. Enjoy!
- Food week August 9 saw consumer sentiment fell to a ten year low and the financial markets rose to new highs. You figure it out.
- Except in states where it is banned, the movement to require vaccines to dine indoors continues to accelerate as do employer mandates for the vaccine.
- The indicators for inflation are all over the place but one arena where rising prices is indisputable is in food. Coffee one of the worst.
RETAIL AND CONSUMER
- Less and less competition in the chicken market. Generally speaking, consolidation does not serve the consumer. And, as we’ve talked about before, it leads to other things like price fixing.
- Both restaurant workers and supermarket employees now averaging more than $15 per hour The market is solving the minimum wage issue.
- You need to get working on an appropriate, universal symbol for plant based substitutes. There isn’t one. Get busy!
- Le Vague Fromage. Americans could soon see cheaper prices on cheese from Europe as imports have nearly doubled since tariffs were lifted in March
RESTAURANTS AND FOODSERVICE
- Anti-vaxxers ‘Yelp Bombing‘ restaurants that require vaccinations. People giving one star reviews aren’t actually dining at the restaurant and many are from out of state.
- IHOP is experimenting with adding alcohol to its menu. This would surely help them compete with Waffle House
- Will labor shortages cause new robots in fast food? Yeah, but only marginally. A short term labor situation won’t really accelerate innovation or resolve hurdles in the move to robotics. Inventors/engineers already had projects in process.
- And, much of the automation in food service is ‘So-so‘. At implementation, it often requires the same amount of labor but with less skills. So it is a way to drive down labor costs but leads to worse outputs.
- 6000 Subways closed during pandemic! They are rolling out new sandwiches but we don’t think that will save them. Anyhow they are reviewed in the article.
FOOD SUPPLY CHAIN
- California is moving close to instituting cruelty free pork. Producers are trying last ditch legal maneuvers but the Courts didn’t buy the Commerce Clause argument from egg producers during the last go round so I don’t know why they thought it would work now. The fight over cage-free eggs and bacon in California, explained.
- The food supply chain is sophisticated and robust but it still doesn’t do short shelf life well. Here is a story about the lengths people will go to get Pakistani Mangoes. (They sound amazing.)
- Arkansas legislature pushes back against Tyson employee vaccine mandate. Very man bites dog story.
- It’s hot and its going to get hotter. OSHA rules might help but migrant workers in agriculture are invisible to regulators. Wait until there is no produce. However regulators have refused to step in as workers languish in extreme heat.
- As a gardener, warmer weather allows me to grow things I never could before. But for farmers, this adds significant new risks. As the climate heats up, plant and animal pests once limited to more southerly latitudes are spreading devastation in the Northeastern U.S.
FOOD WEEK AUGUST 9 LAGNIAPPE
- This combines two of my most favorite hobbies: cocktails and the smoker,
- American food was terrible in the 1950’s, so people made up for it by inventing great drinks. So many great drinks were developed in this time, a lot because of the Tiki craze. Here’s one: The Rum Runner.
- Beer bats: Good marketing promotion, terrible follow through. Cute but they leak. Baseball fans go batty for beer novelty.
- Eating disorders seem to be a problem for the military