Welcome to the weekly fork pitch update. They’ve coined the word Flurona to describe the intersection between COVID and the flu and I am unwilling participant. Frankly. it’s hard to find issues not tainted directly or indirectly by omicron. Among other on-going trends are home delivery for all sectors of the market, slowing interest in non-GMO, the Starbuck’s unionization movement and meat alternatives. Enjoy.
- COVID cases doubled with the more contagious, less virulent Omicron strain dominant.
- Strange days: wages up, unemployment down, but new jobs disappoint.
RETAIL AND CONSUMER
- WalMart doubles down on home delivery.
- Mandatory GMO labels do not seem to drive consumer preference anywhere near as much as the non-GMO project labels do. I think this establishes that there is a small, static and fervent population that cares about GMO, but the momentum has slowed.
- Betty White donuts at Piggly Wiggly.
- Just when you thought the supply chain woes were coming to an end, Conagra Brands figures Omicron variant will test production of everything from Birds Eye frozen vegetables to Slim Jim’s.
RESTAURANTS AND FOODSERVICE
- Lamb-Weston stock jumped because analysts see more french fries being carried out during omicron wave.
- Federal UnEmp extensions ended months ago. Most states stopped in spring. But restaurants still haven’t figured out why no one wants the lousy jobs they are offering.
- Effort to unionize Starbuck’s spreads to Chicago, Seattle, Knoxville, and Colorado.
- Pretty much a ‘bet the company’ moment for KFC as they roll out meatless chicken. They dominated just 10 yrs ago but have fallen behind Popeyes and are a distant third to Chik-Fil-A.
FOOD SUPPLY CHAIN
- During Food Week January 3, Rice obssesives try to determine best cultivar of the world’s most important crop.
- North Carolina struggles with pig waste. Pork prices would be far higher if all the externalities were priced correctly.
- Urban bee-keeping comes to Paris.
- Self-farming farms are on their way using autonomous equipment. In one way a solution for large scale agriculture when the viability of current ag systems has come into question. BUt they may be a bridge to getting the public comfortable with autonomous vehicles.
FOOD WEEK LAGNIAPPE
- In Ohio there’s an Anti-Saloon League Museum. Very Scary.
- Do a a food audit this January instead of a diet; I think what we will eventually learn is that weight loss will occur at the margins: marginal reduction of calories and marginal increases in metabolism, thereby allowing the body to adjust, not react. But a food audit is a good start.
- Fought the Flurona last – and this – week. These foods all make sense to get better but I do recommend a single warm Angel’s Envy rye with lemon b4 bed