Friday, May 19, 2017

Phil's Friday Rap

What I'm watching this week.

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To add one more to the pile already on the Beltway's back, I cannot resist commenting on what looks like is the next Trump Administration food pick that just makes me wonder - why?

Sam Clovis, who has a Ph.D in public administration and was a tenured professor of business and public policy at Morningside College in Sioux City Iowa is rumored to be our next chief scientist at the USDA. He currently is serving as a senior White House advisor for the USDA, although he has no scientific background and is a skeptic of climate change. According to the USDA, "The Office of the Chief Scientist at USDA strives to inform policy and programmatic decisions within the Department by providing the best available scientific advice and input" and according to the posted job description the role must be filled "from among distinguished scientists with specialized training or significant experience in agricultural research, education, and economics." Dr. Ricardo Salvador, the senior scientist and director of the Union of Concerned Scientists Food & Environment Program who has all three of his degrees in ag science, who I have sat on panels with, discussed agriculture issue with and have deep respect for, said it far better than I could. "If the president goes forward with this nomination, it'll be yet another example of blatant dismissal of the value of scientific expertise among his administration appointees. Continuing to choose politics over science will give farmers and consumers little confidence that the administration has their interests at heart."

What I am excited about this week:

Chicago! As the National Restaurant Association's NRA Show 2018 and the Sweets & Snacks Expo both kick off at McCormick Place. I hope to see you at the NRA Foodservice@Retail: Grocerant Summit and the NCA's Most Innovative New Product Awards both of which I am honored for us to be a partner in. Hope you'll stop by to hear and see a glimpse into what the future holds from both groups for our supermarkets.

Talking about sweets, some powerful news: Mars, Nestle, Lindt, Ferrera Candy and Ferrero have all committed to making 50% of their individually wrapped products 200 calories or less by 2022 and will label calories on the front of product packaging, according to Fortune. The announcement was made jointly with Partnership For a Healthier America. Kudos to all these great companies for taking the leadership position.

By now everyone has read the buzz about Lidl's New York City loft "experience" and introduction to the trade and consumer press earlier this week (I couldn't make it, sorry) with the delicious looking platters and samples of their store branded foods and beverages, estimated to be 90% of what is carried in the store (BTW same as Aldi's percentage). Lidl US CEO Brendan Proctor surprised the group by announcing the opening of stores will begin June 15th with the company's first 20 stores to open in the United States in Kinston, Greenville, Wilson, Sanford, Rocky Mount, Winston-Salem, Havelock, Rockingham and Wake Forest, N.C; Spartanburg and Greenville, S.C.; and Virginia Beach, Hampton, Culpeper, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Newport News, Richmond (two locations) and North Chesterfield, Va. "featuring a manageable, easy-to-shop layout of 20,000 square feet with only six aisles." They also put together a very interesting promo you can watch here

Feeding America has launched a new public microsite, HungerandHealth.org which aims to educate, connect, and engage cross-sector professionals focused on the intersections of food insecurity, nutrition, and health and provides information and resources for hunger-relief, nutrition, and health professionals, as well as researchers and local/national partners. Congrats and thanks for a terrific industry tool.

Hope to see you in Chicago – have a great week

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