Welcome to Food Week for January 17. Monster gets into alcohol but everybody is still drinking at home. McDonald’s suddenly wants everybody to eat their pie. Everybody is eating potato chips; everybody except Americans are eating pigeon. And everybody mourns the passing of sexy M&Ms. Enjoy
- Food Week January 17 saw tech stocks and crypto take a beating.
- Omicron is milder and no big deal except 3700 people died yesterday.
RETAIL AND CONSUMER
- I can’t tell if this is pointless brand navel-gazing or a brilliant PR stunt by M&Ms to distract from chocolate sourcing issues. Oh dear, it’s going to be a ‘thing.‘
- Monster entered the craft brewery market with $330 million deal. Essentially, a version of red bull and vodka. Might I suggest the brand name ‘Bro Fight?’
- In case there was any doubt, the GOAT comfort food is… the potato chip. COVID caused a further spike of about $250M in sales. A brief history.
- Big disconnect between retailers and consumers when it comes to sustainability: public is more interested by almost 50% margin.
- When it’s grocery stores, the problem of empty shelves is the supply chain. But when it comes to restaurants, the problem is no one wants to work. Hmmm…
RESTAURANTS AND FOODSERVICE
- Interesting that after years of ignoring their pie offering, McD’s goes back to back with Limited Time Offers (LTO) on their dessert.
- Speaking of McDonald’s, it – and Starbuck’s – are cutting store hours by 10%. For me the interesting thing will be if/when they restore them.
- I don’t care how nice David Humm’s room is – I don’t think he’s reading it. After going vegan – the prix fixe price for dinner is $355 – Eleven Madison Park has now decided to go back to tipping after 5 years. BTW best thing I had there was the trout.
- As noted above, employment is up but restaurants still can’t find workers. They are still addicted to their ‘no opportunities, miserable work for low pay’ model.
- I can’t fathom the bs that baristas put up with. And I was bartender. But this is a whole ‘nother level.
FOOD SUPPLY CHAIN
- A friend running a maquiladora has been dealing with a dengue outbreak for a couple years. A native fish species that is almost extinct kept the Mexican population of mosquitoes down. If you don’t know about dengue, it is also called bone break fever and it sounds horrifying.
- We’ve been trumpeting this for months. Producers are simply fewer. There is simply less competition in beef, pork and poultry. Yet many economists are pretending monopoly has no impact on inflation.
- Part of the global supply problems are linked to China’s tenacious belief that COVID is on surfaces. There is little scientific evidence for this but I have always suspected that, particularly on food, it is a lever to manage trade.
- Big Food is ready to sell you more plant-based meat. Don’t think that producers and sellers have had a road to Damascus moment. This is hedging, with a side of greenwashing.
- Contra trend – Hello Fresh workers turn away from unionization, even though they experience high injury rates, low wages and COVID.
FOOD WEEK LAGNIAPPE
- Not only does most of the world eat pigeon, they revere it and ascribe to it magical qualities. In the US, not so much…
- The King of Coffee is James Hoffman. Here is why he is called that.
- Alcohol consumption has shifted off-premises. Is this the golden era of home bartending? Covid restrictions = travel bans, canceled family gatherings, and closed bars & restaurants. But none of that could stop the flow of booze.
- Fermentation has been around for millennia but will play a crucial future role in a.) the development of alt-proteins and b.) the understanding of the gut biome. Fermented vegetables are a critical part of worldwide cuisines — and for good reason.