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Food Week December 13 -19, 2021

Welcome to Food Week December 13, a fork pitch update on the world of food. Omicron fears aside, retailers and restaurants seem to be having a good holiday season .Apparently consumers don’t want alcohol, chain restaurants don’t want diners, Kroger doesn’t want unvaccinated workers, New York doesn’t want gas stoves and nobody wants to work at meat plants. Enjoy!

MACRO

RETAIL AND CONSUMER

  • Kroger eliminates paid COVID leave for unvaccinated workers.
  • Relating to previous posts about low/no alcohol drink consumption, 1/3rd of consumers say they plan to avoid alcohol this holiday. However I have a.) no baseline to compare this with and b.) no way of comparing intention vs. action. Still, will keep an eye on this.
  • Seattle’s soda tax drove consumption down 23%, On the other hand, people sure love stimulants in their beverages.

RESTAURANTS AND FOODSERVICE

  • We have been following the trend for QSR to move away from consumers dining in store. Even Chipotle – which is built upon the experience of meal assembly – is reacting to a possible, more remote new future.
  • Relatedly, there is roil in the build out of cloud contract kitchens as quality control issues concern brands.
  • TikTok food trends for 2021. The platform is making a push to become a player in fast food and delivery.
  • McDonald’s claws back $105 million from ex-CEO. That amount was just part of the separation package, which really does say something.
  • No good deed goes unpunished. An Oklahoma cafeteria worker faces possession charges after she made cookies with marijuana to help teachers at her elementary school.

FOOD SUPPLY CHAIN

  • Meat plant workers may be getting their payback as plants are having a hard time finding to people to do these horrible jobs.
  • This really feels like the future: A proposed Shenzhen skyscraper would include a 51-story hydroponic farm, as hopes grow that vertical farms can help address food insecurity.
  • I’ve never had Wax Jambu – an Australian fruit – but I suspect I might in the future.

FOOD WEEK LAGNIAPPE

  • I really thought the Umami debate was long settled but if you find yourself on a dessert (!) island with someone who doesn’t know the war is over, go molecular on them with this:
  • NYC is phasing out gas stoves and heat in buildings. As someone already running on solar, I think the gas stove is the last mile. There is no practical alternative for home cooking if you want great results. But is this the beginning of the end?
  • Using your Christmas tree to make your New Years Cocktails sounds like a capital suggestion.

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