The Lempert Report LIVE

Instaqueen, Supermarket Designs, Fat Dogs

February 15, 2022 Phil Lempert Episode 21
The Lempert Report LIVE
Instaqueen, Supermarket Designs, Fat Dogs
Show Notes Transcript

Happy Valentine’s Day! We took a look back in our archives and decided to repost a column on aphrodisiac foods – its what you and your special one should be eating today! Check it out on SupermarketGuru.com for a couple surprises. Today – an Instacart shopper gets even with a customer, we look at the future – and past - of supermarket design, Stop & Shop takes a lead in produce prescriptions, is it time to dust off the Robinson-Patman Act, yet another fallout from the pandemic, a special look at Miller Lite through the Metaverse. On The Lempert Report we wonder what happened to Bob the butcher. The Morning Fix visits a 7-acre state of the art greenhouse, and The Bullseye wants to scare you to eat healthier.

Phil :

Welcome to lthe Lempert Report LIVE. Happy Valentine's Day. We took a look back in our archives and decided to repost a column on aphrodisiac foods. It's what you and your special one should be eating today. Sally happy Valentines day ,

Sally:

Happy Valentine's day, Phil. Talking about foods that are aphrodisiacs today. I wanted to start with just, kind o f letting people know that we don't really have medical science that proves that these foods can actually increase desire. However,

Phil :

What?

Sally:

(Laugh) listen, there are some foods that do increase blood flow and then there's aromas and textures in eating certain foods that also add to what we might call increasing love and romance and desire on Valentine's day. So,

Phil :

And let's.. Sorry.

Sally:

That's okay . I wanted to start off with a , you know , a couple of them share a couple of them with, and I know you wanna talk about a really big one , chocolate, which is w hat I think what everybody wants on Valentine's day, but just a couple of other examples and I've chosen the ones that are high in zinc this year, because I think that being healthy is actually attractive this year, considering what we've been through with COVID. So, let's start with oysters, the classic a phrodisiac, they're very high i n zinc and iron and nutrients and a great, great food to enjoy with your, your date tonight, if you'd like, and also p ine n uts, which is one that I , we don't really think about as an aphrodisiac food, but it is also full of zinc and, has some great, m inerals and nutrients in it that, s ome believe actually do stimulate libido.

Phil :

And also before I get to the chocolate, let's not forget the reason that all this Valentine's stuff is bright red is the color red actually gets our heart palpitating. Just seeing that color, which is why so many of the products , not only on Valentine's Day, but otherwise even when you look at the frozen food case, you know, has that red color because it really, you know, creates a lot of adrenaline for us, but the good news or the bad news, depending on where you're coming from on chocolate is Hershey's has reported out of stocks on their Valentine's day candy of about 20%. Now, typically since the pandemic, it's been 12 to 15% pre pandemic , about 7%. So clearly what we're seeing is less Valentine's day candy out there, at least from Hershey's and also the price of chocolate has gone up dramatically. And in fact , it's up about 8% and it's expected to go even higher. So check it out on supermarket guru.com for a lot of surprises, as it relates to aphrodisiac foods , today an Instacart shopper gets even with a customer. We take a look at the future and past of supermarket design Stop and Shop takes a lead in produce prescriptions. Question is , is it time to dust off the Robinson PatMan act yet? There's another fallout from the pandemic. We're gonna take a special look at Miller light through the metaverse and on the leper report, we wonder what happened to Bob, the butcher, where is he the morning fix visits, the seven acre state of the art green house . And the bullseye wants to scare you to eat healthier lots going on today. So Sally let's get started

Sally:

Well, Phil let's start today with this Instacart Shopper situation. So an Instacart shopper went on TikTok , which is hugely popular and she just, I can as went off about this request that she got , from a customer, there were things in the list , you know, very aggressive things in the list. Like, please take a picture of your bags, that keep the foods cool so that I know that t hey're they're insulated well enough and I can approve them. She was very demanding o f about communication throughout the store. And so this, this Instacart shopper denied the order, but also went on TikTok and complained about it. And it has almost 1 60,000 views with over 1 400 comments.

Phil :

So let's take a look. We're gonna play you this TikTok video. And then I've gotta comment that as I've been watching this and thinking about it, that may be behind the whole thing. So Tony let's let's play it guys.

InstaQueen:

I am screaming right now. This customer left this note in her order and I am shocked. Please read this, please. She gonna say, please send me a photo of your insulated cooling bags in your shopping cart immediately before shot . Otherwise I will call incar promptly and cancel this order to reschedule with a different shopper. What if you don't have the insulated cooling bags or enough of them to keep my food items, temperature controlled, or you do have insulated cooling bags, but only plan on using 'em during delivery. Then don't pick up my order. Some shoppers leave their cooling bags in their cars and only use them during delivery, not acceptable. She says also, if you're doing batch orders, then don't pick up my order. I've had too many groceries to spoil because it takes longer to do batch shopping. What she said, please respond to my messages prompting while shopping and follow my shopping slash bagging slash delivery instructions per item. Especially if I have chicken meat and milk and my order, please make sure after check out that my items are bagged properly per my instructions, just to grocery bagger won't know what they are. Ooh . Y'all could read the rest. Good luck to who got this. Cause I was my pants. If I had this order,

Phil :

Now I give this Instacart Shopper a lot of credit. There's no question about it. I can feel her anger, but Sally have to wonder, I mean, this is great PR for Instacart. Do you think maybe they put her up to it?

Sally:

I'm not sure, but I do, but I do feel her frustration. And I think that we do need , to educate customers on how to treat these workers a little bit better. Hopefully this doesn't happen to them often, but, but there have been a lot of people going on social media that, that have these jobs a nd complaining about these, this type of, behavior from C U, from customers.

Phil :

So now you're an Instacart Shopper and you complain about Instacart and now you're complaining about the customer. It is not a job that I want , wanna have , but there is a job that I'd like to have. And it's all about designing supermarkets. Tell us about that.

Sally:

Well, Phil, are you familiar with the director, John Chu?

Phil :

Of course, you know, Crazy Rich Asians. I love that. I think I've seen that like three times.

Sally:

Yeah, he's also , he's also the direct . He is , is the director of Crazy Rich Asians and also the director of In the Heights, which is , which is the adaptation, the f ilm a pp, t he adaptation of the musical, which is all about this, Latino community. So he has a lot of experience in celebrating ethnic culture, telling stories. And so it makes a lot of sense i t's t hat the A sian retailer, we has now hired him as their Chief Creative Director.

Phil :

So I love this, but let me, let me fast track back probably about 30 years ago , Grand Union Supermarket, which, you know, as many people who were watching this might was a leading retailer. They had over 800 stores in their prime. And what they did is they actually went out and hired one of my teachers from prep , Milton Glazer and, and , Glazer designed all kinds of fabulous , logos. He actually came up with the, I love New York theme and , and Milton Glazer , redesigned Grand Union Supermarkets. And take a look, you know, at some of these pictures of what he did for the herb section, what he did for the outside of the store. I mean, private label, nobody had ever done private label packaging like this. Now these pictures are black and white, but they were in full color. And just, if you look how the , the cat's heads, you know, but up against each other, it was brilliant. Now, obviously it did not do a lot , for, for longevity of grand union, but it wasn't his fault. The owner of Grand Union at the time , passed away. It was then into a different company and so on and they just didn't. But I love this idea , the fact that we can go outside of our industry and go to other brilliant people to design our supermarkets of the future, thumbs up in a, in a big way. And Stop and Shop is also leading the pack with yet another new program, right?

Sally:

Yes. And I love this program. NGA is teaming up with grocers for a food as medicine project. They they've made these videos. They're, they're working with daily table and Stop and Shop on these testimonial videos , in encouraging retailers to become a part of this wonderful program that is , providing food prescriptions. These are prescriptions for fruits and vegetables for people who are living with chronic disease, but are also living with food insecurity.

Phil :

And the more that we can educate people , to this and the one we can empower them the better. I mean, for years, for, for 30 years, the produce industry has tried to up the game, as it relates to how many pieces of produce we eat every day . It hasn't worked, hopefully this video series, especially with the powerhouse up stop and shop behind it, you know, can actually work. New controversy coming outta Washington about the Robinson Patman act. Now when I was growing up in the industry, everybody pointed to the Robinson Patman act as being, you know, what our industry needed , to prevent, problems with one retailer getting a de al, bu t g etting a better deal than the other retailer. But it looks like in the past probably 30 years nobody's really reinforced anything what's going on there.

Sally:

Yes, Phil, the, this, this act, as you said, was signed into law in 1936 by president Franklin Roosevelt, but it's, but it's not really been enforced since around 1970 . And it was a tool to , to help target , buying power, to keep, to keep competition fair in between the bigger retailers and the smaller retailers. If the bigger retailer can get a better price from suppliers, then the smaller retailer has less of a chance of being able to, to compete. So I think now is that some people are looking at this right now and thinking, is this what we need right now to sort of balance the playing field out there right now, because we've got large retailers like Amazon and Walmart that , probably have a lot more power when it comes to getting better prices from suppliers.

Phil :

And the reality is during the pandemic, what we found is a lot of those independent grocers did far better of a job of keeping their supplies on shelf , dealing with customers in a , in a better way. So, you know, I, for one wish that we'd have, you know, some, some more , behind this and really help out those independent and smaller grocers. And by the way, when I'm talking about smaller groceries, I'm talking about grocers that have 200 stores, 300 stores down to the one store operator , to be able to compete with the likes as you pointed out of Amazon and Walmart. You know, the pandemic has taught us a lot. I think as it relates to food, but this is the first time I'm seeing anything about the pandemic as it relates to our pets. What's going on,

Sally:

Phil, I gotta share , share a story story with you because , when I saw that we were gonna be talking about, I, I looked at one of my dogs this morning and I thought, oh my gosh, you know, he's looking a little pudgy. So I did go running this morning with all three of my dogs. So, so we're working on that, but yes, we're seeing s tudies showing that nearly f our 4 0% of d ogs have gained weight during the COVID 1 9 pandemic. And, this is sort of like, you know, if the owner is gaining weight, then the pet's gaining weight.

Phil :

Absolutely. And talking about gaining weight , right before the broadcast today, I got this really cool box. It came from CocaCola and I can't drink this yet. It's a new product called S tarlight. If you can see it, they have the press party, virtual press party on the 17th. So they told me I can't do it a t zero sugar, not for, not for your pets, but what they also sent me is this really goofy h at. And i t, it's k ind o f cool. S o it's

Sally:

A bucket hat. Yeah .

Phil :

It's a, what hat ?

Sally:

A bucket hat

Phil :

Is that what it's called? So I now have a bucket hat, a tye dye , bucket hat, but I'm not gonna put it on because I would look even more foolish with it. So, but on the 17th. So next Monday, I'll tell how Starlight actually tasted , and whether or not it's a hit or a m iss. So from there, let's go to t he Lempert Report. A h, sorry, I screwed up. We're gonna talk about the Super Bowl. We're gonna talk about meta f ood. We're gonna talk about the whole m etaverse, and you know, you know, my opinions on it, it's nothing more than second life, but now w ith a lot more money behind it. And Sally, you actually tried, with Eli, your son to, to g et part of this metaverse, that was part of the Super Bowl. Tell us about that.

Sally:

Yes, we did. I have a very tech tech savvy son as a lot of kids are today. And , my son actually owns an Oculus, which is one of the, the VR standalone headsets where you can , get, you know, get involved in all these worlds and games and things. So we wanted to check out , what Miller light was doing in the metaverse. And so I asked him if he would help me , we tried to log on, on my Mac . We tried to log on, on a PC and we tried logging on with the Oculus and we were unsuccessful with all three. So I'm not exactly sure why, but I hope that they will, you know, as they move forward with these metaverse worlds that they're encouraging people to go, that they will make them a lot easier for you to access. But I did take a look at the commercial, which I, the first big game commercial ever in the metaverse. And I will watched that this morning , on YouTube. And it was really , it was really interesting to see, you know, an avatar commercial within there. They made some jokes and took a shot at the Clyde Dales for Budweiser. They had, they had all kinds of , pop culture references, and it was really kind of cool, but we'll see if people are able to find out how to get in there and get involved.

Phil :

So what I want everybody to do, Tony's gonna play this clip , for us , but I want you to pay attention to the last sentence as part of this TV commercial. So Tony let's play it

Ad Audio:

Welcome to the first big game ad in the metaverse. How is it a big game ad if it's not even in the same universe as the big game? Well, relatable farmer, cause we have a culturally relevant pop stock and majestic horses. What do horses have to do with be miracle to appeal to the masses? We added puppies, avocados from another country, aliens, a Miller like robot explosions, overly dramatic music and more talking in . So this like , and in a not so subtle attempt to get press we'll launch this added exclusively in the metaverse. Wait, where are we? Well, it's just like reality, but with worse graphics. Oh yeah. Don't forget an iconic tagline.

Phil :

So there's no question in my mind. It is great PR we're talking about it here. A lot of people are talking about it. It'll be interesting to see just what happens with it. And we're gonna make you a commitment right now that we're gonna follow food and the metaverse retail and the metaverse as much as we can, until we figure out fad or trend reality, or just hype. Today on the Lempert Report. I have to sound an alarm bell to grocery retailer . Yes . We're in a pandemic. Yes. There's a labor shortage. Yes. We're faced with increased food fuel and just about every other cost. Yes. We have a CPI of 7.5% last month, but if we want supermarket to remain as centers of our communities, we have to bring back Bob the butcher and Betty the Baker, the mass resignation of workers from retail and food service during the pandemic means many supermarkets are now hiring gig workers for in-house tasks like stocking shelves, assembling displays, packing online orders, Marco DiMarino, director of retail and grocery with the consulting firm. Alixpartners told NBC that groceries and retailers in general are definitely looking at it now more than ever for in-store over the last couple of years, they're looking at these platforms, not really as replacement , but as a way to scale up and down that otherwise in the current condition would be very difficult. Midwest grocery chain Meyer to discount retailer, big lots stores are buzzing with gig workers, a contingent of independent contractors who do short term work for multiple companies. Walmart uses third party vendors and gig workers as a compliment to its existing workforce. Walmart spokesperson and Hatfield told NBC news the bureau of labor statistics reports that the leisure and hospitality industry lost 1.2 million jobs since February, 2020 and , and the retail industry lost 158,000 workers during that same period of time. Target brought the gig worker concept in house in 2021, target rolled out on demand employment as an option for existing target team members who may be full-time students, retirees, or have other scheduling knee workers are only required to pick up one shift every six months to retain their employment status and to receive in-store discounts more than 30,000 team members are now on demand workers. According to the company, the issue is that sure, short term , these strategies fill bodies in a open slots, but our industry has been built on familiarity knowing the supermarket manager that cashier the produce guy has made generations of customers into loyal shoppers. If we lose that, what's next, we've all seen and heard about these loyal shoppers from so many changes across the nation, Wegmans, Publix Coburns air one , even some shop rights who pride themselves on building personal relationships. We cannot afford to lose that . This week's morning fix from the Retail Dietitian's Business Alliance brings us to Bayers Marana Arizona smart greenhouse facility, where Megan Dickens gives us the insider's look at the future of agriculture. So I've gotta ask you, you know, this, this, everything behind you, you know, lots of, lots of money has been spent. You know, I , I can only imagine , writing the check for that and, and you know, why is this important? Why is it important as we look towards not only the future of agriculture, but we look at the fact that there's no lanes, obviously in seven acres , you've, you've been able to maximize the space, bring it down for us. Why is this important a nd important innovation for agriculture?

Megan:

Sure, really great question. So my experience having been in this industry for going on 16, 17 years now , I have seen a change not only in how much we can produce on a square foot of land, but how we think about using that. So I think there's a place for a lot of opportunity in this conversation from the startup greenhouse that has dirt floors and a very generic hoop house . It's a structure that provides you protection, which is essentially what this environment is over time that evolves to more sophisticated manners of irrigation and supporting plants. Like you see here, different kinds of benches in a more , formal structure that was built here. I mentioned the word sustainability, and that's a really important part about what we're doing here, Arizona. And the reason we're here is to take the most advantage of all that beautiful sunshine we get over 300 days a year. The best investment that we can make in this facility is to use all of the growing space with that beautiful prime sunlight for our plants. So instead of leaving aisle ways and there I say wasted space in an environment like this, we are capitalizing on that for the use of our plant growth and actually moving our plants to our people. So on the very other end of the greenhouse , we have an elevated platform where these benches are being delivered to , for our teams to work with, take those observations, conduct the pollinations. And so with that, we're able to tap into all of the resources available in that growing footprint to put all that energy right into the plants .

Phil :

And now it's time for the Bullseye. In the United States, about 42% of adults have obesity, according to the national health and nutrition examination survey, as of 2018, estimates are that another third of American adults are overweight in all. That means more than 73% of adults here in the us are overweight or have obesity, but we have diet plans, Golar , low calorie and low fat foods, even surgical procedures to help. But it doesn't look as if any of those are actually helping us new research from the university of North Carolina chapel Hills Gilling school of global public health finds that bottom of the form , parents where 17% points, less likely to buy sugary beverages if confronted with the images because parents buy most of the calories, their children, soon , this type of policy could help reduce kids' intake of sugary drinks said senior study author and assistant professor Lindsey Smith Taillie for the study, the researchers created a mini mart to recreate a convenience store shopping experience when 325 parents of kids , age two to 12, went shopping, some saw drink labels with graphic images, representing the damage of heart disease and type two diabetes. While others simply saw a barcode parents chose one drink, one snack and one ha household item for their kids. These graphic and scary picture warnings were a big deter. While 45% of parents who saw barcodes on labels bought a sugary drink for their child. Only 28% of those who saw the picture warning made the purchase. Now there's no question that using images like these are very controversial and will make the soda tax fights look lame in comparison, but in 2022, the world is visual. Just look at what Sally talked about with the metaverse experience. A simple warning label will not get kids or parents attention. We have to do more before 100% of our population is overweight or obese. We can't let that happen. Maybe it's time to scare us. Sally, any comments this week,

Sally:

We do have a couple of comments here from John Pandol today, our top commenter each week, John says we

Phil :

Have to give him a badge. We we're John, we're gonna , we're gonna create a Lempert Report badge that you could put on your social media.

Sally:

Yeah, we should put it on a bucket hat, a tye dye bucket hat. That's send it to . So John says , delivery expectations so hard to find good help these days versus if you have a crazy boss, everybody's doing it quit.

Phil :

Yeah. And, and unfortunately , certainly for this Instacart Shopper, the crazy boss was the customer. And, and again, life is too short and especially everything that we've learned during the pandemic, we're all in this together. So...

Sally:

Absolutely.

:

You know , if you, and , and a lot of the comments that I read , from that T ikTok video, basically, you know, people a greed not only Instacart shoppers, but people agreed, Hey, she should go shopping herself. If she's gonna be like that, what else you got?

Sally:

Yes. And I just wanted to add to that. Remember, you can go in and change that tip to reflect your gratitude for those Instacart shoppers, because it's only set at 5%. And so if we member that they've done a really good job, we can go back and increase that tip for them. John Pandol also says gig workers at the supermarket. Oh no. That's like being educated by 12 years of substitute teachers.

Phil :

Great catch John. Love that. Love that. So thank, thank you all for joining us. Be sure to go supermarket guru.com , Happy Valentine's Day check out the aphrodisiac foods. And while you're there, remember to sign up for our newsletters, have a great week. And also next week, I'll tell you what Starlight from Coca-Cola actually tastes like .