The Lempert Report LIVE

Romantic Whole Foods, Black Leader Appreciation, Safeway's Fight

February 07, 2022 Phil Lempert Episode 20
The Lempert Report LIVE
Romantic Whole Foods, Black Leader Appreciation, Safeway's Fight
Show Notes Transcript

Today – what’s missing in the White House’s Cancer Moonshot, Blue Apron’s marketing is on target, how about a kiss in Whole Foods’ aisles? Our friend Al Roker celebrates black leaders, thumbs up for Safeway, on The Lempert Report we look at kid’s loneliness, Bullseye is focused on Domino’s latest marketing coup and on The Morning Fix we talk broccoli. Let’s get started.

Phil:

Welcome to the Lempert Report LIVE. Today, what's missing in the White House is Cancer Moonshot. Blue Apron's marketing finally seems to be on target. How about a kiss in Whole Foods aisles? Our friend Al Roker celebrates black leaders. Thumbs up for Safeway and on the Lempert Report, we're gonna take a look at kids' loneliness, very serious problem. And bullseyes' focus on Domino's latest marketing coup and on the Morning Fix, we talk everything you ever want to know about broccoli. Let's get started . Sally. What's the news about Biden's cancer moonshot.

Sally:

Hi Phil. the Biden administration is reigniting a program that he started back in 2016 when he was the vice president, and that is the cancer moonshot to end cancer. As we know it now, we both know that , President Biden lost a son Bo Biden to brain cancer. So , I imagine this is a very, is very close to him as a lot of us. I , I don't really think I know anybody that hasn't been affected by cancer. So looking through this, there are some really great initiatives that have to do with fast tracking research and cancer screening, and a lot, lot of great efforts to, to bring those cancer numbers down. But I wanna read something to you that I read on the us national library of medicine, national institutes of health . And, and this is what I was hoping you would comment on Phil. It says here it has been estimated that 30 to 40% of all cancer can be prevented by lifestyle and dietary measures alone. When a diet is compiled, according to the guidelines here, it is likely that there would be at least 60 to 70% decrease in breast colorectal and prostate cancers and even a 40 to 50% decrease in lung cancer.

Phil:

So there's no question. We've seen the data for years that talks about what we eat and what disease states we can prevent. So that's the good news. The bad news is in this cancer moonshot is I've gone through everything. They don't even talk about health and nutrition, not a nickel is going for education. And to be honest with you , to me, you know, Congress is investing 1.8 billion , at seven years of new funding for cancer research in many areas , but nothing about nutrition. And you know, I really think that they're missing something here. That's huge.

Sally:

Yes, I agree. And we're gonna talk about this later in a Safeway story, but , I would really like to see them, them , provide some programs with incentives, for food retailers to up their game is selling, selling fruits and vegetables and healthier foods. How about working with food companies to make products that have better for us ingredients?

Phil:

Yeah, absolutely. And there was some stat in here that I didn't know, that's really shocking , to me that during the pandemic, nine an d a h a lf m illion people have missed their cancer screenings in the us a s a result of the pandemic. So now more than ever, we really need to get our act together on this and, and have, you know, full attention on it. But Hey, you know, p resident Biden, give us a little bit money for nutrition education at retail. We need that. So, Sally, what about blue apron? Blue apron looks like, you know, s i x months ago they were probably ready to go out ta bu siness, but now they've come up with a marketing idea that frankly I think is really smart.

Sally:

Yeah. I think this is really cool too , Phil. They have worked with Panasonic in creating a four in one multi oven. That just goes right on top of your counter. You can use it for baking. It's an air fryer, it's a microwave, it's a flash boiler. And what it works with is these ready, these heat, heat meat meals that you can order through a subscription through blue apron.

Phil:

Yeah, I think it's very smart. The only thing that I don't like is you have to buy it for $529 and 95 cents. I think you can get a microwave these days for about a hundred bucks , if not less. And the good news is that you get a hundred and $200 off of five meal boxes , but to be honest with you, I think that they should give it out free. I think that the whole idea would be get a subscriber every time you order. You could actually get this oven at no cost. And I think that that would get a lot more people , involved in it, but good for o r b lue apron. I , you know, they're thinking and, a nd hopefully it works. Whole foods is gearing up for Valentine's day. What's going on?

Sally:

Well, Whole Foods this year is doing something called gourmet date for good, which is a series of three virtual online cooking cook along events. And these are with three different , celebrities. The first one, which will be the V alentine's day event, which is on February 13th, is with, Heather McMan, who is a regular on today with Hoda and Jenna, and she'll be joining, h er mom and her sister. And they're gonna make, I think it was, they're gonna make oh, steak Cin i an d bas il vi negarette sauce. So that's great. And then on February 14th for Valentine's day, Tabitha brown and her husband cha nce, n ow she's an actress, but also a ver y, a n advocate of a vegan lifestyle. They're going to make a pasta. And then on February 15th, a u thor podcast host, , M a t t bee, so rry, it's goi ng to make a chocolate lava cake with all those singles out there who are celebrating singles awareness day.

Phil:

Yeah. I think that there's a really cool idea of what whole foods is doing. I'm interested to see do just how many people are gonna sign up for it. You also have a Q and a on at the end of it. And , I'm looking, does this cost anything it does , you have to make a donation through Eventbright

Sally:

Correct. Yeah. And I, that's one of my favorite things about this, because the donation that you make goes of the independent restaurant coalition, which is an organization that is helping local restaurants and bars who have been affected by COVID .

Phil:

Yeah. Very, very cool idea. Thumbs up to whole foods for, for doing this. I wish more retailers would follow through. Tell me about, you know, our buddy Al Roker.

Sally:

Well, as a , as we all know, it's black history month, a very important time where we celebrate the achievement achievements and the , contributions and break breakthroughs that black Americans have had. And this year, the theme, which I did not know t hat I actually didn't know that there was a theme and I just learned that today, b ut they do have a theme every year. And, a nd this year t heme i s, i s b lack h elp and wellness. So they're focusing on, the rituals, familiar rituals and practices that are celebrated in the black community to improve wellness. And I think that's wonderful. A nd, a nd so Al R oker, y our o ld, co worker h ere, it h as, w ritten this article here on Afro dot and he is praising some of these wonderful people out there that are working to help, t h e black community with food insecurity. There is n ea rly one and fou r black individuals that are at risk for hunger. And that is more than three times the rate in white households.

Phil:

Yeah. And one of the people that he talks about is , , chef Grant, who is an army medic. He retired after 20 years in the army and then , went back to school to become a chef. And now he works i n t he soup kitchen in Georgia. Very, very cool. Like, like that idea a lot, you know what what's going on Safeway?

Sally:

Well, Safeway is beginning online programs to where to provide an opportunity for people that are using snap benefits to, to buy their food on online and have it delivered, or they can pick it up. In addition to that, they are offering a $10 coupon for each $10 benefits they spend on fruits and vegetables. Now what's really important about this program and, you know, Phil, I went on the U S D a website to see how many retailers there are across the country that are allowing people to buy foods with snap benefits online. And there are a lot of them . Aldi is all over , Publix, Walmart, Amazon. I did not see Kroger anywhere on the, on the list. But, but they're offering, they're offering some other great benefits along with this. One, the benefits you get to spend the coupons, you get to spend on fruit and f ruit and vegetables, but they're also trying to work with clinics so that they can fulfill prescriptions for food. When people have an illness and their doctor thinks that they should be that they need some nutrition treatment, then they can get a prescription for that. And then they can bring that to Safeway and cash it in for food.

Phil:

Yeah, it's a great program . And I give , Safeway a lot of credit, but also, you know, credit goes to chef, Michelle Sh aun, b ecause, M i chelle is the first one who really stood up. I wan t to sa y about 25 years ago at far mer's ma rkets and said, we're gonna match however much money you spend on snap with that muc h. S o you spend $25 on produce. They're gonna give you $25 and his fo undation has done a fabulous job. And I'm just so happy that this has go ne mainstream. It's, it's a, i t's a great program. And again, k u dos to Safeway. Their program is ca lled nourish everyone, w h ich is a great name for it as well. So right before, you know, we got together, on air. I got this email that I have to share with you, Sally, Mil l er light is h aving a contest to give you 500 bucks to t ake a metaverse break during super bowl . So, you k now , we talke d, we talked about the metaverse, oka y . Last week a lot. So it's the meta l ight bar i t's officially opened in the decent ral land open f or p eople 21 plus, and you could stop by now, to w i n 500 bucks, to fu n d your game day cel ebr ations. You can check it out Miller, light.c om back s l ash m eta l i ght b ar, L I T E, bar a n d, you know, go to the metaver se and le t's see what's going on there.

Sally:

See , interesting.

Phil:

So , today on the Lempert Report, we are gonna take a look at what could be one of the most serious issues that we face today. And it's a all about our kids. And it's all about loneliness, Mitch Princeton, a clinical psychologist and chief science officer for the American psychological association is very concerned that with all this talk about and move to the metaverse, we're headed for disaster. The mental health experts are asking if the Meta will be a safe place, especially for kids and teens. If we go back in time to second life, we discovered that it wasn't that safe for anyone yet alone teens, but have we not learned anything since the launch back in 2003, back in September, the wall street journal published those confidential Facebook documents that showed that its platforms, especially Instagram were harmful to a significant percentage of teens, most notably teenage girls, and specifically when it comes to body image issues, Facebook's internal documents said that among teens that reported suicidal thoughts, 6% of American users traced the issue directly to Instagram. 32% of the girls said when they already felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel even worse. Fast tracked to 2022 Albert Rizzo psychology us who serves as the director for medical virtual reality at USCS Institute for creative technologies says that today's social media platforms are already dangerous for some kids and teen virtual realities level of immersion could make those problems even worse. There's a potency about being immersed in , in a world that is different than observing and interacting through a flat screen monitor. He says, once you're actually embodied in a space, even though you can't be physically touched, we can be exposed to things that take on a level of realism that could be psychologically assaulting. He says that this is creating more loneliness. This is creating far more body image concerns and exposure to dangerous content that's related to suicide. One game publisher, VR chat already shows evidence of dangers for young users in December research from the nonprofit center for countering digital hate found that minors were regularly exposed to graphic sexual content, racist and violent language bullying in other forms of harassment on VR chat's platform, which is typically accessed through Meta's Oculus headsets. The CEO , Iran OMED of C , C , D H told CNBC that virtual Rio does need a lot of safety built in from the start because you can't search the metaverse for hate or sexual abuse. He says you can't, it happens in an instant and there's nothing you can do. Top line is as the metaverse is still in its infancy. We must build a metaverse responsibility doctrine and force it. Our kids' mental wellbeing and future is at stake. Just last week, we started a new feature from the retail dieticians business Alliance. It's called the morning fix, where we spend just 15 minutes talking to an industry leader this week. It's how we might just have solved. George Bush's is taste problems. Jenny Maloney, the global America's strategic accounts manager for bear shares the backstory of the success and innovation of bear's new high rise broccoli for the complete episode, just go to retail, dieticians.com . So let's head into the grocery store. So you have a focus group, if you would , of three, you know, kids , they, they liked it. What else did you do to prove that, you know, this product , kids would love and to get, you know, our retail dieticians to taste it for themselves, demo it, put it in their recipes and make it a really kid friendly, you know, resource.

Jenny:

Well , we were out in the field , the , the grower of this product , uh , couple of the , my bear colleagues, and we tasted the broccoli in , in the field and said, this is great. What, what can we be doing to introduce this to kids? And immediately we thought of school districts who, you know, or one of the biggest restaurants in the United States, I think , uh , before COVID , uh, you know, schools were serving , uh , almost 300 million lunches a day. And so you talk about , uh , demographics that that's there and getting feedback all the time. So we do a lot of work with United fresh foundation, which is now part of the international fresh produce association. They do a lot of work with school children. We used to before COVID do a salad bar donation to a handful of schools every year during COVID. We had to get a little bit more creative. Uh , salad bars are still not back in Vogue with, with , , concerns about touching things. But one of the things that we said is let's partner with some of the local school districts , uh , where this was growing broccoli and see if we can get some of the school food service directors to try out our broccoli stems. See if you know, broccoli stems could be the new baby care . We were lucky enough to partner with a couple of school districts in the Monterey California area and harvested our broccoli. Our grower donated all the broccoli to school that week, and one of the teachers volunteered his time and did a mini , uh , kitchen out during lunchtime out on the black top , saute our broccoli, cut the stems into what I call coins or stars. We call them Brock stars, sauteed the broccoli , uh , talked about our varieties, how they grow. And if you look at some of the pictures , they were served on paper plates , uh , and every single paper plate that was put into the trash can was virtually lit cleaned. So we had students that came back for seconds , thirds fourth, and even fifth to eat more broccoli stems . So I would say , uh, it is hard to impress elementary school kids. And by the showing of the, the clear paper plates that , uh, that it was , uh, the rock stars were hit.

Phil:

And now it's time for the bullseye in a rather brilliant marketing move. Maybe dominoes has announced that they're gonna give customers $3 to not have their pizza delivered and to pick it up instead, whole bunch of reasons here. First, the shortage of dominoes delivery drivers second, and perhaps more importantly, there is no way dominoes can deliver a pizza to me for three bucks dominoes. Like every other food service operator is faced with higher costs , labor increases, ingredient, price increases, increased fuel costs to drive those deliveries. In fact, they've actually cut the number of chicken wings in a package from 10 to eight. So we wouldn't have sticker a shock when we ordered those chicken wings, the $3 discount or what dominoes is calling our tip is good on your next order. And while we don't know the rate of redemption, just yet, it should prompt repeat business. But I must wonder if $3 is enough in the consumer's mind. When we start to add up the numbers, it appears that dominoes is going to make a lot more dollars on pickup versus delivery. And will customers say, Hey, for three bucks, the convenience is worth it to have the delivery. The cost for me to get in my car drive there, pay for the gas is much more than $3, but there is a lesson here. One that we've talked about for quite a while, as supermarkets move to push shoppers, to click and collect and away from delivery, shoppers will want a reward. Yes, it could be the 10 bucks that on average, a supermarket loses on every delivery order, or maybe we need just to put on our marketing hats. How about developing a rewards program for those who opt to pick up collect points, it build to rewards for free product discounts, swag, something grocery retailers need to offer inducements for shoppers to do curbside pickup . Otherwise what could be a good stable and profitable business may never achieve its potential. So Sally, any comments or questions today?

Sally:

Yes, we, we've got a few here. Dave foreman wrote into us about the domino story and says, ha three bucks. I guess I've been over tipping . The pizza guy. They may have created their own challenge for retaining drivers with this stunt

Phil:

Agree 100%.

Sally:

I also like what John Pandal has to say regarding this story. If I asked my mother for a sandwich, she would say, get up and make it yourself. Dominos is now doing the same great reality check. The truth of the last mile is there is no such thing as free delivery.

Phil:

Very well said, John, as always. And, and when we look at the whole fast that's that's taking place, and we've talked about that before in New York, it's absurd. All these delivery companies, you know, are being fueled by VC dollars. They're not making money. They're never gonna make any money if it's at this , this kind of, of rate. And we're just fooling ourselves and wasting a lot of time and a lot of dollars that could go elsewhere.

Sally:

Well, John Pandal also says, please suggest dietician funding for the behavioral change side. We know fruits and veggie veggies are good for you, but how do we get people to eat them regularly? And I

Phil:

Agree with that. Yeah. And, and John, you bring up, you know, something that has bothered me for a long time and PMA is a great organization. But when I look at the five a day program , that's been around now for 20, 25 years, you would know better than I , , it hasn't worked. So what did they do instead of five day , they went for nine a day. What we really have to do is sample sample sample. You know, when you give a kid , a charity or you give them a piece of fruit, their eyes light up , we, we really need to do more to get fruits and vegetables in people's mouths. If you would, and back to what bear's doing on the broccoli. Now, I haven't tasted it yet. But you know what they've said, what Jenny said is her three kids love it. It's a sweeter tasting broccoli. It doesn't have that bitter taste. So we really need to, to have people like bear agriscience do these kinds of things to our food supply to make it more palatable for kids and adults.

Sally:

And then we also got from John Pandal, which, which is great with this topic. He's busy today. He is very busy today. If social media is so damaging to mental help of so many, should we reconsider using social , to distribute, distribute help ?

Phil:

Yeah. You know , John, t hat that's really, that's really an interesting point that you're raising. And, a nd I guess until we have an option on social media, I mean, that's what we're doing here on LinkedIn live and on Facebook live, you know, it's a good distribution network to reach a lot of people, that we're doing with this program. But, but you're right. You know, I think we, we need to monitor, what kind of information on health and wellness we have on social media and make sure it's accurate because if you Google anything, a bout health and, an d t h is, you know, 50% of what comes up is a commercial for something, y ou know, a product that we've never heard of, things like that. So we really need to, to c lean it up. If in fact we want, we want it to be as accurate as possible. You raise a , a really important question that we need to address. And you , during the pandemic, now we have more retail dieticians who are using social media to reach more people. So I guess you come back to the person, if you're a , a retail dietician , registered dietician, you know, your stuff. Yeah. Social media is great, but if you're, you know, some quack , or have some product that you w ant t o push out, maybe not so much great point, John, and that's it for this week. We will see you here again next week. Same time, same place, Facebook live, LinkedIn ha ve Y ouTube. And also if you missed any part of this episode, they'll be posted on supermarket guru.com as well as a ll of our, s ocial media channels. And don't forget when you go to supermarket guru.com, sign up fo r our free newsletter comes out once a week, and it'll keep you up to da t e on everything you need to know for the grocery world. Thanks for joining us.