Welcome to Food Week for November 3, 2023. I’m here to disabuse you of notions. Like it’s the farmers who make you turn back the clocks. Or that food prices keep going up. How about that retail theft is causing store closures. Or that there are only 5 basic flavors (6? 7?). Maybe that skinny guys don’t know about food. Or that fried rice is safe and baked beans are lame. Rock your world! Enjoy!
- A good but not great jobs report, which is great, at least to the markets. Is the Fed done raising rates? An argument they should be.
- World food price index lowest in 2 years.
- There are a lot interest groups that like turning back the clocks. It isn’t farmers.
RETAIL AND CONSUMER
- Retailers continue to use theft as a dodge and distraction over poor performance. What the increase in shrink is is more likely poor management of supply chains during COVID and the effect of self-checkout.
- Is Walmart really going to commit to regenerative food production? The cynic in me says no but I was dubious about organic and they made that shift.
- How to tell if your retailer is about to disco your favorite item.
- Shoppers are really starting to prefer store brands.
- Trader Joe’s the retailer is not the same thing as Trader Joe, a crypto exchange. The retailer wants you to know that.
RESTAURANTS AND FOODSERVICE
- Chains love franchising because it allows them to pass financial, legal and regulatory risk onto the franchisees. A new ruling this week by the National Labor Relations Board will make that harder.
- To the surprise of no one who’s been to their restaurants, Panera is cutting costs before an IPO.
- Eat at a private club and watch the Las Vegas Formula 1 race. World renowned chefs included. Only $11k!
- NBA players can probably afford trackside seats but, for a bunch of really skinny guys, they have become a credible source for restaurant reviews.
- Pizzeria Uno appears to stopped it’s long decline by converting hotel space. It is an interesting strategy: as a frequent traveler, I find myself in hotels with no or limited room service. Having a foodservice outlet with cromulent food is an option I’d appreciate.
FOOD SUPPLY CHAIN
- Wacky weather in Northeast messes up apple picking season.
- Toddler milk has no nutritional benefit.
- John Oliver on the nastiness of the Chocolate supply chain. Of course, the industry is extremely consolidated and having only 3 main processors prevents competition.
- A deep dive into pesticides in your food.
FOOD WEEK NOVEMBER 3 LAGNIAPPE
- Someone somewhere decided that baked beans are cool.
- The blight that is the brandy old fashioned. Shame on you, Wisconsin.
- Researchers arguing for a sixth basic flavor, one that identifies with ammonia!. We’ve written previously about the debate over kokumi.
- Fried Rice syndrome is a real thing that can kill you.
- The Washington Post periodically publishes column by contrarian Tamara Haspel on food. Turns out she takes money from special interests, doesn’t disclose them.
- The 50/50 martini. I’ll talk about it but only if you have a high quality vermouth.