Happy New Year from fork pitch and welcome to a late, truncated version of the weekly update. Late and truncated because of a microorganism – the old fashioned flu, not COVID – we have a theme of microorganisms in the update. Specifically, bacteria. Bacteria that can make you well. Bacteria that can make you sick that no one is testing for. Packaging that can kill bacteria and even bacteria that will make sugar healthy. Be thankful for the little things.
- The food week December 27 was stuck in the doldrums between the holidays; makes for little macro news, good or bad.
- Dissension, frustration over mask requirements. As usual.
RETAIL AND CONSUMER
- Food consumers have very much internalized higher food prices for the coming year.
- Bacteria-killing packaging. This will be an important area of development but for now it will be mostly about extending freshness, not preventing illness.
- Probiotics, Pre-biotics and now postbiotics. We are only now beginning to understand the role of gut flora – mostly bacteria – and its impact on weight, metabolism and even mental health, Postbiotics are ingredients to help foster healthy gut flora but are not destroyed by heat. If they can deliver, postbiotics have huge potential.
- Kroger strike is still over.
RESTAURANTS AND FOODSERVICE
- Open Table reservations way down in the face of Omicron wave.
- Ohio lawmakers have stripped away health departments ability to close down restaurants because of safety violations. They now have to wait until someone gets sick!!? All over mask mandates, states curb power of health officials.
- Eminem opened a spaghetti restaurant. For those of you appalled by the idea of spaghetti sandwich, the Spaghetti-O’s sandwich was a lunchtime staple in my house growing up.
FOOD SUPPLY CHAIN
- Record beef prices, but not for ranchers. 4 companies own 85% of market share. Welcome back to the Gilded Age. Hopefully, welcome back antitrust activity from the DOJ.
- On the other hand, Kroger, other file a price fixing suit against pork producers.
- Food week December 27 saw extraordinary snowfall in California, meaning the state is no longer in extraordinary drought. Not good, but not extraordinarily bad.
FOOD WEEK LAGNIAPPE
- The right composition of gut biome can even make sugar healthy. Some lucky Greenlanders
- I have solar. I will be getting a heat pump water heater. But “get hotter faster, boil water faster, and allow for more precise and repeatable control” does not capture what i need for cooking on a stove. Gas gives immediate incremental adjustments. Tech not there yet.
- Today I learned that Bailey’s Irish Cream was invented during my lifetime, which either means it is relatively new or am indisputably old.