Happy weekend and welcome to Food Week August 23. We’re running across continuous supply issues across channels and categories, ongoing issues with water and climate change and struggles with the Delta variant. Yet we continue to soldier on. So learn about blueberry picking, real licorice, the history of gin and tonic and, don’t worry, CEA will save us all.
- Stocks hit record highs again.
- Hurricane Ida threatens New Orleans with disaster. As always Chef Jose Andres is ready to lend a hand.
- The Fed pushes back against inflation hawks, noting that cost problems are mostly supply chain driven.
RETAIL AND CONSUMER
- The COVID hokey pokey. We are out, we are in, we are out… For many shoppers, a return to normal has been put on hold, thanks to Delta surge.
- Flamin’ Hot Mountain Dew will generate more buzz than sales. Perhaps a publicity stunt more than a actual product roll out because it simply sounds…unpleasant.
- The target demographic for dollar stores are the poor and the innumerate. This is how they fool their customers. Fascinating article.
- Grocers will struggle with certain items into 2022, fighting supply challenges as bad as what we saw in spring 2020.
- In case you have too much joy in your life, Squareats can help by reducing your food to just cubes.
RESTAURANTS AND FOODSERVICE
- Supply issues extend to food service distributors as well.
- Restaurant prices in New York spike. This is not just in New York; the factors are the same elsewhere. There are simply more and newer costs for restaurateurs.
- As we wrote about just a couple of weeks ago, there are fewer applications of technology to food service than people think. And most are just ‘so-so.’
- I get a sense that the longer term strategy for some chains will be to separate the ‘retail’ fast food restaurants from delivery. Competencies in each area are very different and doing both at a single location makes for sub-optimal performance at each. Wendy’s to open 700 ghost kitchens.
- City of Chicago sues DoorDash and Grubhub for deceptive practices.
FOOD SUPPLY CHAIN
- 70% of Colorado River water goes to agriculture. Some of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the country also depend on that water. More people + less water means that decline of agriculture in the southwest is inevitable.
- Tyson is offering an incentive to chicken (plant) workers to spur vaccinations. This is addition to other incentives.
- A lack of shipping containers causes South American meat producers to cut output. some estimate culling herds by 25%.
- As a result open field growers, particularly in the Western US are moving into Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA). One of McDonald’s largest suppliers of lettuce.
- “Nature will find a way:” Ian Malcolm. Herbicides become less and less effective over time as ‘weeds’ adapt. Attack of the Superweeds!
FOOD WEEK AUGUST 23 LAGNIAPPE
- A video on blueberry picking. My memories of blueberry picking as a child un the Midwest are mostly negative, with incidents involving swarms of mosquitoes and younger brothers eating more than they picked, with the predictable results.
- THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS RED LICORICE! (Oh the hills I would die on.) I love licorice. Here’s everything you need to know about it. I may plant some.
- “The gin and tonic has saved more Englishmen’s lives, and minds, than all the doctors in the Empire.” — Winston Churchill (who was really one of history’s worst human beings). But here is a history of the gin and tonic and it’s role in the empire.
- Speaking of gin, The Last Word is one of those cocktails that seems all nice and light and then kicks you in your teeth.