Friday, March 31, 2017

Phil's Friday Rap

What I'm watching this week.

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Supermarkets can learn a lot from QSR, or is it the other way around? It's a decades long debate, but as the two converge into "grocerants' it is clear that both sectors can learn from each other.

One of my favorite brands is Dunkin Donuts. In fact, I was thrilled to star in a few TV spots for them after my TODAY Show taste test found it to be the "best coffee in America." Another fav is Waze. With all the traveling I do, it's an app that I couldn't live without (the sign of a great brand!) and now the two have joined forces. DD is the first QSR that offers an "order ahead" feature. Smart!

Finally it looks like McDonald's is listening. Yesterday it announced that it will be cooking its Quarter Pounders to order and use fresh beef. This is a major move for the chain, and I'm sure that their franchisees are grumbling a bit, but in order to compete with folks like Super Duper it's a great move. According to the Wall St. Journal, the company told investors that it has lost 500 million transactions in the U.S. since 2012, and same-store sales have been lagging — including a 1.3 percent decline in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31.

And talking about the convergence of retail and QSR into grocerants, don't forget to sign up for the National Restaurant Association's Foodservice@Retail Conference: Grocerants Summit. We are honored to partner with NRA on the program and look forward to seeing you there!

Calling all RDs! Today is the last day to sign up for RDBA's Back-to-School Samplefest® - a complete program with product samples, helpful merchandising tools and all you need to know about Back-to-School. For RDs only – sign up now, last chance.

What I'm watching this week:

Confirmed H7, Presumptive Low Pathogenic Avian Influenza in a Commercial Flock in Georgia - A flock of chickens at a commercial poultry breeding operation located in Chattooga County has tested positive for H7, presumptive low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI).

Soda taxes and sugar wars continue. Great piece in Billy Penn about what is really going on in Philadelphia as a result of the soda tax. Shoppers are heading out of the city to avoid the tax and its impact on local supermarkets. Jeff Brown, one of the industry's leaders shares his insights and frustrations. At the same time across the pond the British Government has announced sugar limits  with the aim of improving children's health by removing 200,000 tons of sugar by 2020.

Specialty Foods Association has opened registration for the Summer Fancy Food Show – sign up today. Earlier in the week I was given a sneak peak at the SFA's show innovations this year, and it will definitely be the show not to miss for all retail sectors as they are expanding their reach as more shoppers, especially as the taste buds and desires of Millennials and Gen Z continue to dominate retail food. 2,500+ exhibitors. 

A supervisor at the Energy Department's international climate office told staff this week not to use the phrases "climate change," "emissions reduction" or "Paris Agreement" in written memos, briefings or other written communication, sources have told POLITICO. Seriously? Do we really think that shutting our ideas to what science has proven to be a really threat will "make it go away?"

Don Longo, editorial director of Convenience Store News (and a long time friend of SG) says that, "Wawa and Sheetz represent the best of the best in the convenience store world. They're a notch above the rest of the pack. Several notches, really" and we couldn't agree more. 

And finally…

Congrats to the First Family of Food. Danny Wegman on Wednesday appointed his daughter Colleen to be CEO (he remains Chairman) of what continues to be one of the best supermarket chains. In a published statement Danny said, "The time has come to create a structure for the future that will allow us to remain strong, vibrant and family-owned. I have no doubt that our company will be in good hands." We have no doubt either. A great family who cares about their employees, their customers and the industry, a model we should all strive for. 

PS – thanks to all who joined us on Wednesday for our first Facebook LIVE food reviews. Hope you will tune in every Wednesday at 10am pacific/1pm Eastern and join us and add your own insights.

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