Friday, May 26, 2017

Phil's Friday Rap

What I'm watching this week.

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Two of the best food shows, NRA and Sweets & Snacks Expo had huge successes this year with both show floors packed with attendees – which proves if you give our industry what they want they will come! Large contingents from Hy-vee, Walmart, Costco and Kroger. Next up Summer Fancy Food Show June 25-27 in New York City. (I prefer to call it the EXCITING Food Show!) New "Level UP" education program showcases future consumer trends, e-commerce, Shop the Future Market and more.

What kept me up worrying this week, and planning for next…

Trump's budget plan. This is a plan? Cutting almost $200 billion over a ten-year period from SNAP and $46 billion from ag programs including crop insurance, specialty crop block grant program and conservation. Gotta love the titles:  A New Foundation for American Greatness - President's Budget FY 2018 and America First - A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again – not sure why it needs two titles, but this Administration seems to love the superlatives and saying them over and over. Marion Nestle turned me on to the AP's interactive charts that give you the details and an historical prevue. 

The battle is raging with a lawsuit filed against the FDA by The Center for Food Safety, CSPI, Environmental Defense Fund, EWG and Breast Cancer Prevention Partners to ask the US District Court for the Southern District of NY to declare that FDA's final GRAS Rule issued in 2016 "violates fundamental principles of separation of powers, exceeds FDA's statutory authority, is not in accordance with law, is arbitrary and capricious, and is an abuse of discretion." Will be watching this one closely because a change here could have staggering effects. Here's the 38 page complaint.

Google has announced a new tool at their annual developer conference Google I/O that can track how much money people spend in a particular store after clicking on the store's digital advertising. They explained how it works: they match the combined ad clicks of users logged into Google with their collective purchases on credit and debit cards (Google says they have access to 70% of US credit and debit card sales). CBS' This Morning has a good report.

Nielsen has released their Memorial Day stats highlighting food and beverage sales for the start of BBQ season. Highlights: Beef still #1 at $778,577,592, Chicken sales $363,207,375, Berries are the number one fruit topping at $244 million and canned wine sales for the long weekend jump 46%. Here's the complete report.

Our neighbor here in Santa Monica, Bulletproof 360 just closed a $19 million Series B round of more venture capital – total funding now tops $28 million for the coffee + butter (and water + butter) brand. If the crowd at their store across the street is any indication, this fad is far from over regardless of the science. 

Grocerants are hot, and food halls want a piece of the action. Tampa Biz Journal has a slide show of what's going on in Tampa which has some learnings for supermarkets planning their own foodservice@retail concepts.

Food trucks to the rescue. At least in Ohio, Connecticut and Colorado as three trucks take the lead in providing free meals for hungry kids. The Buzzin' Bistro in New Britain, Conn., the Lunch Lizard in Mesa County, Colorado, and the HCS Tomahawk in Hillsboro, Ohio get our kudos, respect and thanks for stepping up – especially in light of the proposed cuts in SNAP. 

Dollar General's "limited editions" is smart marketing and might just bring back some of the hipness that the dollar channel had, but waned as those shoppers in their BMWs quickly tired of the scavenger-hunt mentality. Jon Springer reports that the exclusive branded items new stores include Oreo Mississippi Mud Pie cookies; a 16-ounce Coca-Cola can series honoring military veterans; Regal Cinemas brand popcorn; an exclusive flavor of Hawaiian Punch, Mango Monsoon; and Mott's mango juice in an exclusive 6-pack.

And last, but not least is a new film Food Evolution (check out the trailer here) which explores the controversy surrounding food and GMOs. To quote from the film's press kit: "While the passionate advocates in the film are all concerned with the stewardship of safe, nutritious food for the planet, their differing views over what constitutes the truth have pitted them against each other, rendering the very subject of food itself into an ideological battleground." Narrated by the fabulous and smart Neil deGrasse Tyson, this film separates the hype and emotion from the facts and science. Tyson's quote says it all, "The good thing about science is that it is true whether or not you believe it."

Have a great Memorial Day! SG's Daily Insights will not publish on Monday – back at'cha on Tuesday.

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