Friday, June 2, 2017

Phil's Friday Rap

What I'm watching this week.

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Yesterday was a day that history will prove had a huge impact on our food world. Our industry has been decimated by droughts, hurricanes, torrential rains and earthquakes. Our crops and livestock yields have been significantly effected. "The Art of The Deal" has a new meaning as the White House announced that the US will be withdrawing from the Paris accord and begin renegotiating "on terms that are fair to the US." We can only hope that the new terms are negotiated quickly and do not have a disastrous effect on the landmark agreement that had only two countries (Nicaragua and Syria) not sign the agreement to substantially cut fossil fuel emissions. China, the country that emits most of the world's CO2 (US is second) pledged that "China will continue to uphold its commitments to the Paris climate agreement," Premier Li Keqiang of China said Thursday in Berlin. "Step by step, and very arduously, together with other countries, we will work toward the goals set [in 2015]." A strong commitment coming from the country that Donald Trump said made up climate change "in order to make US manufacturing noncompetitive."

Other news that I'm watching….

The White House has just signed a new executive order to create a new task force that will "recommend eliminating food and agriculture legislation, policies, and regulations that might hinder the profit-making of "agribusiness" within the next 180 days. Many pro-organic groups are up in arms as they feel that this is a giant step backwards that may allow companies like Dow (who gave Trump $1 million for his Inauguration) to have an easier time to have their products approved for use in agriculture. Which is sort of funny (or not) sine the First Lady has said that "Barron's health has improved out of sight since we started eating organic, non genetically modified food."

Our friend, Charles Spence's new book Gastrophysics: The New Science of Eating goes on Sale June 20 (you can pre-order here) is a must read for every food retailer and food brand. Spence, an experimental psychologist at Oxford University, takes us through how consumers experience food and how our brains effect our senses and how that effects what and how we eat. His premise is that retailers and brands need to put more emphasis on "feeding diners' minds" and that it is as important as feeding their bellies. Start with his last chapter "Back to the Futurists" and then start at the beginning.

The Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has issued their new Obesity Update 2017 Report and the findings are worrisome: the US leads the 45 countries in obesity at 38.2% of the population aged 15 years and over (France is at 15.3%) and our rate of overweight (which includes obesity) has risen from 45% in 1972 to just under 70% in 2016. The report includes in-depth analysis of obesity communications that every retailer should read.

The US Supreme Court denied a petition from six agriculture state attorneys general and governors that sought to overturn California's landmark egg sales law. In 2010, the California legislature passed AB 1437, which stipulated that eggs sold in the state of California must come from housing systems that do not cruelly confine birds. The law went into effect on January 1, 2015, the same day as the related ballot measure, Proposition 2, which was supported by nearly two thirds of California voters, and which mandated that laying hens, breeding sows, and veal calves to 'stand up, lie down, turn around freely, and extend their limbs. Shoppers led by Millenials and Gen Z demand transparency and sustainability from our food brands and we expect that trend to continue.

Where in the World Do You Want to Grow is a very cool interactive global map that shows you everything you need to know about foodservice sales, consumer demographics, number of units, average check sale and more.

The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) 2017 Retail Sustainability Management Report of 31 retailers across 30 dimensions is out. A valuable tool to help track your progress and see what are other retailers' sustainability issues.

A fun piece on Bloomberg "What Gets Stolen From Restaurants? Everything" is a must-read for Grocerant operators that underscores the importance of branded your location to make it iconic enough that customers want a piece of it. Some of the examples are far-fetched but pull back and see how to create your brand – its not about what they steal, its about the emotion they feel; and how restaurants like NYC's Spotted Pig can turn it into a social media phenomenon.

And for our friends in Seattle….

Our Food Trends Forecast over three years ago highlighted the rise of fermented foods, now comes the film! Fermented premieres at this weekend's Seattle Film Festival. Chef and author Edward Lee hosts what he calls a "human process and journey" to discover the answer to the question: What is fermentation? Lee travels all over the world to introduce the audience to the people who live and breathe fermentation. You can watch a clip here. 

Have a great weekend!

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