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Food Week April 25 – May 1, 2022

Welcome to Food Week April 25 to May 1, 2022. While waiting for spring to arrive in the upper Midwest – no signs yet – we review the interesting food stories of the week. Surprises: US GDP, Coke’s profits, Taco Bell and Drag Queens and a surprise inside some boxes of Lucky Charms. And then there are the ongoing themes: Inflation, containers, unprofitable delivery services and the incredible shrinking Subway. Enjoy

MACRO

  • US GDP suddenly and surprisingly contracted. Blame put on imports but I expect a revision – with higher employment and personal spending up, it doesn’t quite make sense
  • Food week April 25 celebrated the 100th anniversary of the gummy bear.

RETAIL AND CONSUMER

  • Whole Foods to continues pull out of inner-city locations. The latest was a opened to great fanfare just a few years ago in one of Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods. A nuanced dive into how lots of different factors lead to poor nutrition, esp. in urban areas. One additional point would be the replacement of supermarkets with dollar stores. What is a Food Desert?
  • Substitutions are one of the problems that grocery delivery services are yet to solve. That and, you know, making a profit.

RESTAURANTS AND FOODSERVICE

  • GrubHub crashes JET (Investments) Activist investor: JET’s Grubhub purchase is a ‘capital allocation mistake.’ In other words, a bad buy.
  • Accepting cryptocurrency for a franchise fee has corporate and franchisee risks for volatility at least. Not to mention more dire scenarios, But Hot Chikn Kitchen is going there.
  • Speaking of franchisees, Subway continues to alienate theirs. As a result they have lost 3500 locations in just 3 year.
  • Taco Bell doing a promotion with the drag community is nothing if not daring: a 5-city Drag Brunch. Taco Bellas?
  • Missouri is the latest state to allow use of food stamps at restaurants. This is important because many of food stamps are elderly, handicapped and homeless for whom preparing meals can be difficult if not impossible.

FOOD SUPPLY CHAIN

  • Consolidation in meat production squeezes consumers and ranchers. CEOs testify but antitrust is the only thing which can change this.
  • Demand & supply, boom and bust in chicken wings. A most American story.
  • With Ukrainian sunflower production interrupted by the Russian invasion, palm oil is am alternative. But that is bad for forests and the climate. Iceland reverts to palm oil ‘with regret.’
  • They’re magically nauseous – Lucky Charms sickens almost 500 people.
  • While the problem is no longer at US ports. the container mess is ongoing.

FOOD WEEK LAGNIAPPE

  • Enzyme that can breakdown PET plastic in a matter of days rather than months or years. If viable would mean a move to more PET.
  • Yes, some of the risks to pregnant women from food-borne illness are quite remote. No they shouldn’t be ignored.
  • I love bread too much to like sourdough. But it you love it (no judgement, philistine), here is all about making and holding starters.

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