Welcome to Food Week September 18 – 24, 2023. Jam packed week. Fresh doubts on the big grocery merger. Dollar General is a nightmare on many levels. A $78 airport restaurant tab goes viral. Low groundwater levels in upper Midwest a big problem. Nestle’s greenwashing. Jimmy Carter’s Francisco Franco routine fueled by peanut butter ice cream. And more. Enjoy!
- Back to a somewhat more stable interest rate environment.
- Carbon offsets, the free-market solution to climate change, are mostly hooey.
- Jimmy Carter has made it to 99 years with the help of peanut butter ice cream.
RETAIL AND CONSUMER
- Is the Kroger Albertson’s merger in trouble? While they would own less than 30% of supermarket retail, in many geographical areas they would have dominance.
- Who knew? The skills necessary to market cigarettes turn out to be really good for marketing foods that are bad for you and possibly addictive.
- Instacart IPO exceeds expectations based on revenue streams other than delivery.
- Bad pay, bad customers, bad managers. The worst job in retail is likely Dollar General – a really appalling collection of details.
- Do as little as possible to address climate change then sponsor Climate Week NYC and, viola, you are greenwashed, It’s the Nestle way.
RESTAURANTS AND FOODSERVICE
- Restaurant adds 18% service charge for parties of 1 or more. Many become outraged. Most miss the point.
- 96% of restaurants plan on expansion in the next 18 months. This should be a leading indicator for a robust economy.
- I will miss Xitter when it finally dies but this week it did what it does best. NYT columnist David Brooks write a tweet about a $78 meal tab at Newark Airport as demonstration of why the economy is terrible. A little research led to a avalanche of snark as it turns out that $60 of that bill was expensive whiskey.
- However if your food budget is still mostly food, here are 50 restaurants the Times is most excited about. Whatever that means.
FOOD SUPPLY CHAIN
- Agribusiness and intellectual property firms throttling agricultural development in Africa.
- On of the problems of falling groundwater levels is that nitrogen fertilizer concentrations increase and the water becomes toxic.
- How the structure of crop insurance is a major hurdle for farmers to adjust to climate change.
- Energy costs are preventing success for indoor farming.
- Drought is causing spikes in olive oil prices.
FOOD WEEK SEPTEMBER 18 LAGNIAPPE
- Lima, Peru receives less than 1 inch of rain per year but is tremendously humid. Home farmers use specialized screens to capture the humidity and water crops.
- Katz’s Deli is the bomb.
- A 3800 year old olive tree.
- I would never mess with an Oktoberfest beer fraulein.
- Wash your damn hands.