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Food Week November 1 – 7 2021

Happy Diwali, And Infrastructure Week (did you get your shopping done?) Employment is stronger than thought, inflation is less than depicted, shelves are full of products except for when they aren’t and everybody talks a good game about meat alternatives but they haven’t committed just yet. Enjoy!

MACRO

  • Food Week November 1 is…Infrastructure Week! It finally arrived.
  • Tremendously strong employment growth.
  • Great analysis of the hysteria around food inflation. CPI is up 4.5%. However if you interview a woman who a.) says milk has gone up 40% and b.) buys 48 gallons of milk a month, it sure seems a lot worse. CNN does a bad job and a disservice.

RETAIL AND CONSUMER

  • Kroger is going all in on delivery in Florida, eschewing expansion through bricks and mortar.
  • A strike at Mondelez International, now stretching into its fourth week, slows production of Ritz crackers; Grocers stocking up on alternatives in case.
  • The organizing principle for supermarkets right now is ‘just-not-in-time’. Most things are available but spotty shortages for specific items.
  • And if so, a boring holiday for bargain hunters and coupon clippers? As food marketers face shortages they question if it makes sense to promote products they can’t ship. For you, no promotions!

RESTAURANTS AND FOODSERVICE

  • Papa John? More like a toddler… Disgraced Papa John’s founder brags about testing 800 pizzas in 18 months.
  • The @USDOL announced a final version of its dual-job tip rule. The rule establishes mew limit to the time a tipped worker can do non-tipped work while receiving the tipped (subminimum) wage.
  • 1/4 > 1/3??? Math is hard. Math in QSR is irrational. No, not that kind of irrational. A&W re-visits 1980s marketing falure with 3/9-pound burger.
  • Will the restaurant industry learn that retention is better than churn? FedEx struggled during its latest quarter due to labor shortages. UPS, which pays its unionized drivers the highest wages in the industry, did not.
  • Popeyes is shutting down 40% of its dining rooms early: are QSRs slowly transitioning away from the goal of creating a dining experience? They really aren’t that great at it anyway.

FOOD SUPPLY CHAIN

  • Chicken processing plants are financially structured around exploiting laborers. The ‘great resignation’ hasn’t made it to rural production facilities – where it would do most good – because:
    • a. no other job opportunities.
    • b. too expensive to just move.
    • c. extended families with varying immigration status.
  • Belcampo tried to do slow food – responsibly raised cattle – in a fast world. It didn’t make it. Is such a model sustainable?
  • 58% of people want to convert to alt-proteins. But they have a 10% market penetration. We call that unmet demand, kids. But while the choices are proliferating, the quality still lags.
  • On the other hand, another plant based meat business plan falls short as Maple Leaf Foods is finding demand for plant-based products weaker than expected. Canadian processor is reassessing category. I frankly prefer Beyond’s product to Impossible but right now Impossible is winning the war.

FOOD WEEK LAGNIAPPE

  • For Food Week November 1, a story on how Diwali is growing as a food celebration in Chicago.
  • A plum innovation. Trees that continually produce fruit. ARS Scientists Develop Ever-Flowering Fruit To Feed Astronauts.
  • Pure schmaltz. MeaTech Is Now Churning Out 100% Pure Cultured Chicken Fat.
  • I suspect an authoritative compendium on spirits & cocktails will be mostly used to settle arguments.

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