Welcome to Food Week. Inflation drives a lot of stories this week, because food is driving a lot of that inflation. Contributors include the Invasion of Ukraine, transportation, lack of competition and influenza (no, not that one, a different one.) But we still found time to read about electric chop sticks and Easter Keggs. Happy Passover and Easter to everyone.
High meat prices causing shifts in consumer buying patterns. As a result, House Ag committee calls 4 meat CEOs – Cargill, Tyson Foods Inc., JBS, and National Beef Packing Co. – to testify about high prices. They represent almost all of the production in that highly consolidated industry. So they should already know the cause of high prices.
Kinda buried the lead on this one but consumers are moving away from grocery staples and moving into more expensive prepared foods, contrary to expectations in inflationary times. Meanwhile, Deli foods thrive.
Brilliant marketing: Pabst creates an Easter Kegg hunt in Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Tampa and Portland on Saturday, April 16.
Scientific testing and certification to ensure meats are antibiotic-free. Certification has been successful in things like animal welfare; this will require a more rigorous testing regime. Here is how kosher certification went mainstream.
RESTAURANTS AND FOODSERVICE
Panera testing coffee robot. Don’t let it fool you – it’s a vending machine.
Wholesale egg prices have spiked 200% because Avian Influenza has killed 6% of laying flocks right before Easter. However prices starting to fall. The invasion of Ukraine causing international supply tensions as that country is a major exporter of eggs.
Containers are piling up at port of Shanghai due to Zero-COVID lockdowns. We are back to a container shortage but now the bottlenecks are on the other side of the Pacific. Jackfruit rotting in containers. But it can be hard to tell what is simply manipulated trade policy.
Some good news on the inflation front. Trucking rates are off their peaks as supply and demand start to match up. However a political stunt by the Governor of Texas is slowing trucking (produce) from Mexico.
Russia turns to Turkmenistan for fresh produce. Which seems a little desperate.
The drought really isn’t over in California. After a wet December, reversion to recent patterns. Spring thaw is crucial source of water. But if there’s no snow, there’s nothing to melt.