Welcome to Food Week February 27 – March 5. Three trends that seemed inevitable at the end of COVID – meat substitutes, ghost kitchens and vertical farming – drew substantial investment and all have struggled. Some stories here. Plus West African cuisine, Girl Scout cookies, nutmeg, a fungus courtesy of Jack Daniels and more. Enjoy.
Fed threatens more rate hikes. But with a tight labor market will it work or have the opposite effect?
The median age for US home buyers is highest ever. We aren’t building enough houses. Higher interest rates won’t help.
Car prices finally coming down.
RETAIL AND CONSUMER
Hormel, like a lot of meat companies, took a hedge position in alternative proteins. So far it hasn’t worked out.
The big CPG brands are mad that there are new proposed standards for calling food healthy, But private label brands came out of COVID with great momentum and hasn’t looked back.
More trouble for grocery delivery services. Another prestige retailer – Heinen’s – drops Instacart.
Even Costco stumbles sometimes, missing quarterly estimate.
RESTAURANTS AND FOODSERVICE
The role of influencers in a changing reality for restaurants.
Wendy’s wants to open restaurants, not ghost kitchens, reversing strategy from 18 months ago.,
Inclusivity needs to be extended to bars.
Will West African cuisine be the next hot topic?
The societal benefits to universal free lunch in schools far outweighs its costs.
FOOD SUPPLY CHAIN
Similarly to free lunch, access to SNAP benefits are often the determinant of whether some live in poverty or not. Emergency benefits from COVID ending March 1.
Vertical farming is struggling, even after billion in investment. Operational costs are the biggest problem.
Avian Influenza will return this spring in one form or another. How the industry handles it is key.
Climate change is making life difficult for Europe’s tomato farmers.
In something that sounds like a prologue to The Last of Us, a fungus living on Jack Daniels‘ fumes take sover a Tennessee town.
Using sewage to fertilize farms, like, you know, people did for millennia. The neighbors aren’t crazy about it.
FOOD WEEK FEBRAUARY 27 LAGNIAPPE
Weird stuff about the origins of breakfast foods.
The Girl Scouts always have three varieties, while others can change. Can you name them?
Erythritol, the second gen sweetener that was considered safer, now linked to heart attack and stroke,
Algae as a super food.
Fascinating story on the historical Jewish enclaves on the Indian sub-continent and their cuisine,
One nut is good for you, the second will do you harm, the third will kill you. The background of nutmeg as a halucigen.