The Lempert Report LIVE

Google Bowls, Crispy Cows, Meta Crypto Food Hall

March 14, 2022 Phil Lempert Episode 25
The Lempert Report LIVE
Google Bowls, Crispy Cows, Meta Crypto Food Hall
Show Notes Transcript

USDA gives approval for gene edited beef, regenerative farming gets a boost, Kroger’s private brand gets a lawsuit, Google figures out how to eliminate food waste and Ford has some fun. In the metaverse we explore how to eat, on The Lempert Report we discuss the language of plant-based foods, Jason Green is next week’s guest on Lost in the Supermarket and we share just one intriguing thought of his and in the Bullseye – a new virtual food hall that just might make you hungry.

Phil:

Welcome to the Lempert Report LIVE. So we have some late breaking news that we're gonna get to. Before I tell you what today's stories are. Number one , you might have heard this already as Frank, Frank DiPasquale was nice enough to send this over to me just a few minutes ago, that there's gonna be another supermarket strike here in Southern California. Negotiations have broken down between various unions and Ralphs and b onds, pavilion, Albertsons, United food and commercial workers, says 60,000 grocery may actually go out on strike. U F C W, a comment from Ralphs. We have three very clear objectives. This is from Ralphs, not the union. Number one, to put more money in our associates paychecks, number two, keep groceries affordable for our customers and three to maintain the sustainable future for our business. By working together, we win together but watch this space because we might have another strike on our ha nds s upermarket strike at a terrible time. When people are very concerned about stocking shells, number one, they're very concerned about what's gonna happen with wheat prices, oil prices, edible oil prices, as well as gasoline prices because of what's going on in Russia and the Ukraine. So timing couldn't be worse , for this to happen and our other late b reaking news. And Sally, you're gonna appreciate this because you've got three dogs and Tony, you're gonna appreciate it. I c ould, I think you have two dogs or three dogs. I'm not sure how many you have. But dog bites are costing California residents $ 135 million a year, more than any other state in the u s. This is from the insurance information Institute California, Florida, a nd Texas have the highest number of dog b ite claims. Typically homeowners insurance covers dog b ite claims, but I'm shocked. And, a nd you guys being dog o wners should know this. This is why I don't have a dog. The average cost of a dog bite claim is $ 64,622. So with that , let's, let's get onto our news today. The U S D A gives approval for gene edited beef regenerative farming gets a boost. Kroger's private brand gets a lawsuit, Google figure out how to eliminate food waste. And Ford has some fun in the metaverse. We explore how to eat on the Lempert Report. We discuss the language of plant-based foods. Jason Green is next week's guest on lost in the soup market , and we share just one intriguing thought of his and in the bullseye, a new virtual food hall that just might make you hungry. So, Sally, what do you think about U S D A's decision to allow gene edited CRISPR technologies on our cows?

Sally:

Hi , Phil. I think this is really big news. You know, they're, they're going to clear the marketing of food products from cattle that has been altered with CRISPR technology which has been around for a while . And what's interesting about it is, you know, we're, we're facing a lot of issues with climate change and this, this trait that they are altering makes these cows have a liquor coat, a slick hair so that they can withstand high temperatures better. Now, now, according to scientists and the FDA, they are saying that this is already a naturally occurring mutation that happens in cows that are raised in tropical environments.

Phil:

So just so everybody knows, we're not talking about GMOs. What we're talking about with CRISPR is they can go in, they can either turn off or on a particular gene in this case, it's the hair of the cows , that, that they're turning off so that the cows don't grow as much hair so that they can be in these climates. The other thing that probably is the most important, I think for consumers and for retailers to understand is they will not have to label this as being you know, gene manipulated and my, my issue and my question is gonna be whether or not a lot of consumer groups jump on this and really make it a , an argument for people thinking that it's gonna be GMO because the difference between CRISPR and GMO is significant, but in , I think the average consumer's mind that gets lumped together. And as a result of that, a lot of confusion. So I think we're gonna hear a lot more about this , Talking about what's going on at the farm. There's a new study that just came out that really looks at the link between regenerative agriculture and the impact on food nutrients. What's going on with that?

Sally:

Again, really interesting research here. Particularly when we are all trying to figure out ways that we can we can increase our sustainability efforts and, and deal with climate change and feed more people. But they're , they're finding out the , the study was published in the journal PeerJ and they looked at 10 farms across the country. They asked them to grow one acre, of peas, sorghum, corn, or soybeans , and then on a neighboring plot of land, they had the same crop using conventional farming methods. Now the regenerative method meant that there was, it was a , it was a , there was no till cover cropping and crop rotations for a minimum of five years. And what's so interesting is what they found was the regenerative methods made these crops more nutrient rich .

Phil:

And if we take a look, you know, for those of you that listen and watch our webcast farm food facts , we've been talking to farmers now for probably 2, 3, 4 years about the whole regenerative movement. And, you know, from a farmer or standpoint, it's better , better yields, but this is the first time we're really seeing about nutrients. And just to give you some idea, the regenerative farms on average had 34% more vitamin K 15% more vitamin E 14% more vitamin B one 17% more vitamin B two 11%, more calcium, 16%, more phosphorus, and 27% more copper in, in the case of phytochemical , phytochemicals, there was a range of between 15 and 22% more. Wow. I mean, when we talk about good health and, and good new nutrition , this, this solves a lot of issues. And also from a carbon standpoint the regenerative farmers had twice as much carbon in their top soil and three times as many in their soil health score based on U S D A's t ests for soil health. So, y ou know, this is great news for farmers. It's great news for us as consumers. And I think we're gonna see a lot more attention on this as, as we should.

Sally:

Yes. And it's an opportunity really, to , to market these products that come out of this to consumers that are growing more and more interested in , nutrient dense foods, healthy foods that, that help with these so many chronic diseases that people are dealing with.

Phil:

And besides the potential strike here in Southern California , Ralphs, which is a Kroger Kroger has another problem on their hands. What's that about?

Sally:

Yes, I'm really sorry to hear this because you know, Phil, that I am a Kroger shopper. Yeah, you know, a few times a week I met the Kroger or ordering from them and I am a big purchaser of their organic, their private brand brand organic, the simple truth brand.But apparently the ecological Alliance organization has now fought , filed a lawsuit against Kroger because a number of their private label products are, are testing with very high lead levels. And when we say very high lead levels, the daily maximum exposure level is just 0.5 micrograms. Now, a spinach with bacon salad kit for one, they found had 70.1 micrograms of lead

Phil:

150 times what , what the limit should be. And also, you know, when you take a look, not only in that Salad kit, but their sweet peas and carrots contain 33.1 micrograms gram crackers contain 11.2 micrograms cinnamon raisin bagles, 6.82 micrograms. And I'll , I'll tell you something I'm really surprised because so many of the retail environments that are out there all the ShopRite, I mean, they've got a lot of laboratory tests going on for their private labels. So how this could sneak through at Kroger , I think some heads are, are gonna roll there. Talking about heads rolling Google has decided that they're gonna take a strong position on food waste and what they did. Now that more people are coming back and just to give you some idea, Google has offices in 170 cities worldwide. So we're talking about a huge , huge amount of employees here. So what they decided to do because they, they offer free food is they're giving out bowls that were an inch less deep. So therefore, you know, people, people can go back and get as much as they want, but they eliminated a substantial amount of waste, 30 to 70% less waste. And this goes back to some of the experiments that were being done up at Cornell by Brian Wansink , who would, you know, fool around with different size plates. I don't know if he ever did bowls, but just different things like that. And, and I think that if, if this is a success for Google, this is really something that every restaurant, every restaurant, everybody who's concerned about ways should be following.

Sally:

Yes, I agree. It , it , I remember those studies from Cornell and it does seem like a very effective way to sort of unconsciously change your perception of how much you eat. I also thought it was really interesting that, you know, Google has a really big impact they can make here because they're making enough meals that they're larger than some fast food chains. So this is, this is not just a small company taking a stand. This is a really, really big impact. In addition, they're, they're taking a lot of other steps to work towards a zero waste plan.

Phil:

Yeah. I give them a, a lot of credit for doing it. They've been involved in food for long time, not only giving their employers food, but using Google to help from a technology standpoint in the food world. They work with a lot of retailers , grocery retailers throughout the country. So, yeah thumbs up, kudos to, to Google. What about Ford? Ford is doing something interesting.

Sally:

Yes. And I absolutely love this story. Big kudos to the Ford company. They are testing , self-driving electric vehicles and what they're doing to , to test this is they're delivering food to , challenged communities, senior communities in Detroit. But what they also did, which is a , such a wonderful part of it is they commissioned , a teenager , a teenage art student to create sign for this food truck. And it's beautiful. It , it's all about equality, it's all about community. And I just think it's a wonderful thing that they're doing.

Phil:

Yeah, I agree. And, and certainly coming out of the pandemic. I think that everybody h as, has a n ew appreciation for each other. And certainly now with what's going on with the Ukraine where we're seeing a lot of people stepping up, to see what they can do to help Ukraine, not only by giving them money, but, b ut just having the emotion, for this, you know, fabulous centuries old, you know, culture and so on. You know, my hope is when we get past the pandemic, when we get past, you know, Ukraine a nd, a nd hopefully, you know, they're, they're successful i n their effort to thwart Russia, that what we'll see is we'll see a new sense of community. A nd, a nd that's what we've been lacking, I think for probably good decade. I had a conversation with,, w ith someone the end of last week, you know, and, an d n ot to get politics involved, but, you know, Dan Quayle, you know, 20 years ago, more than 20 years ago really cautioned us about losing that family unit. And hopefully, you know, he, he had a warning sign for that, even though he couldn't spell potato, b ut you know, a warning sign an d, an d h opefully we're now going back, t o, to that. Let's talk about the metaverse as we are doing now every single week. More and more is hitting about the, metaverse just talking to a retailer , on Friday , who said, you know, we're scared of it. We know everybody's doing it. We need to know more about this, and we need to figure out , where, where our grocery store can play in the metaverse. So I guess the first question that we need to ask ourselves is can we eat in the metaverse?

Sally:

Well, we can't really eat yet, as far as I know, I don't know how we're gonna do that, but, but the same question has occurred to me. What are the real world benefits of food in the metaverse? And it's really , it's really starting to occur to me that there are a lot of great benefits, you know, this weekend, my son got on his Oculus and showed to and , and , and gave it to me to try out and what, what he was doing was he was going into a virtual kitchen and he was finding ingredients and he was making something and I thought, wow, this is a fantastic way to teach cooking. But, but there are some other great ways that this is that real world benefits are coming out of this. And so we're seeing this with like celebrity chefs are getting involved , where you can go in and you can shop at a digital farmer's market, buy your ingredients, then you can combine them and create a , an NFT. And you can use that NFT. In some cases you're using it to like for coupons or , there are supper clubs that are being created where people get together in the metaverse and then , put their money, pull their money to their NFTs together and go to a real restaurant. But there's, there's certainly , are appearing to be some great benefits.

Phil:

Yeah. And then there's this one company called onerare , which is built as the world's first food metaverse. And what they're doing is they're selling shares if you would or NFT to different chefs to be part of this. So on average it costs about 300 bucks. What they want to do is they want to have a thousand chefs. I think, I think they want to have a thousand chefs to be part of this. My only concern about the metaverse, and we've seen it with bit coin. We've seen it with second life. Everything is that some of these startups that are gonna be doing this that are gonna be selling these things, frankly , it's just they can make money. The underlying idea about a metaverse to your point is to create a community, w here people can get together. They can talk, maybe they meet at a restaurant. You know, I am, I am very much in favor of the metaverse and everything that can be done. I think we are gonna have certain things that, that are opportunistic for a lot of these companies. And as a result, I think there's gonna be some people that get ripped off.

Sally:

Yes. Well, and we are seeing a lot of companies , startups that are financing their business before they even deliver a , a product to people. And, and one of , one of the things we read about was a wine company, a wine maker that is selling vintage wines, but, but they're, it's, you're going to get it in 30 years, you know, so

Phil:

It's , the winery still exists in

Sally:

30 years . And so it is

Phil:

Interesting if the guy doesn't take the money and run.

Sally:

Exactly.

Phil:

So, yeah , well, we , we will continue to be watching the, metaverse continuing to educate about the metaverse. And now it's time for the Lempert Report. Carolyn Fortuna wrote an important column on CleanTechnica about how language of menus could inspire us to make better choices. She asks if the language used in a restaurant’s menu change the way you look at plant based foods? What do you think of when you read a menu and see the words “rich” or “crispy?” The language of food can be blatant (“acidic”) or nuanced (“honeyed”); it can be inviting (“citrusy”) or inhibiting (“sour”). The words on menus and sandwich boards suggest flavors that inspire customers’ eating decisions, so the language of food can help build anticipation and even convince a hesitant customer to try something new. Today’s food entrepreneurs, she says, are learning to draw upon an extraordinary mélange of language, history, and food to appeal to flexitarians and others who have become intrigued by meatless meals. Compared to original dish names that used language highlighting the lack of meat in a dish (e.g., “Meat-free” or “Vegetarian”), new names that emphasized taste or origin (e.g., “Cumberland-spiced”) or used more appealing words for plant-based options (e.g., “Field-grown” or “Garden”) significantly increased sales of the target vegetarian dishes according to a field experiment conducted in a UK based café chain reported in the “Language of Sustainable Diets” by study authors Bacon ( behavioral science researcher), and Wise, Attwood & Vennard of the World Resources Institute. WRI finds that the two most effective descriptive messages doubled the chance that a consumer would order a vegetarian menu item. These themes are “small changes can make a big difference” and “join a movement of people choosing foods with less impact on the climate.” ​ We have said for a long time that plant-based foods need to stand on their own merits – and not try to emulate or mimic their animal counterparts. Taste is number one. Be sure you join us along with The Food Institute at the Protein & Plan Evolution Virtual Conference June 1-3 - as for the first time ever we bring both sides of protein to the table and discuss the future. Is it flexitarian? Carnivore? Vegan? You are in for a riveting three-day discussion! Join us at https://hopin.com/events/protein-plant-evolution. Here's a, here's a preview of what Jason Green, a neuroscientist and the co-founder and CEO of upward farms, the breakthrough vertical farming company that grows fish and leafy greens in Brooklyn told me about the future of farming for the complete episode, which posts next week on supermarket guru.com. Just click on the lost in the supermarket icon. You know, when I look at the future and I look at the supply chain problems that we've had , when I look at, you know, having a hundred thousand truck drivers , out of the workforce, I look at, you know, having to get a bag of lettuce from California that grows, I guess, about 96% of all lettuces to Brooklyn, New York, this is not a very efficient system. Um, so with your background, with everything that you're doing, you're looking to really upend this whole system and grow close to where people are. Tell me a little bit about that and, and why you're doing it.

Jason:

Thanks Phil. Yeah, I , I think you've already teed up a number of the issues that, that we're addressing over the last several years . Uh , we've seen that climate change is not just a future threat, but it's affecting the food that's available. Uh, every day . Um, we've seen that yields across the globe are dropping , uh, yields in the us actually fare worse than , um, than than many cases, global averages. And that's particularly concerning for, for us here at home, in the us , what we're now seeing over the last two years through the COVID 19 pandemic is the emergence of new risks that the consolidation of production, whether it's in geographic areas like California or Arizona or leafy greens, or just how globalized food has, has become, whether that's air freight of fish from all over the world, fish is , uh, one of the most traded commodities across borders. Um, or if you're looking at the inputs to agriculture and we're now seeing how the war and Ukraine is creating new food, security risks, countries are shutting their border. They're saying they're not gonna export food because the concern is that there isn't enough at home . And I think all of those are , uh , they are increments that are adding to what we have known for a number of years now in emerged the issues the last two years over the last weeks is that how and where food is grown is not serving consumers and it's not serving retailers either. So the question is, you know, who, who is it serving? And that's probably a deeper , uh , discussion. Um, but what we know is that it's not serving consumers and it's not serving retailers. And that's really where we come . What , what we're trying to do is really rationalize the supply chain, grow food that people wanna eat, where they're eating it

Phil:

On today’s Bullseye we explore the evolution – or should I say – the revolution of the food hall – in the metaverse. The Cordia Corporation just announced a crypto food hall in the metaverse that will host 1,000 chefs. Peter Klamka, CEO and the former owner of The Blind Pig restaurant in Las Vegas said in a statement that “The restaurant environment is as challenging today as it has ever been. Most independent restaurants are barely hanging on. A few new customers can literally make the difference between closing for good and surviving. Our chef collection is a fantastic and inexpensive first step for restaurants to get exposure to NFTs and the growing cryptocurrency community.” He told Nation’s Restaurant News that Cordia is selling 1,000 chef NFTs as entrance to the food hall. These NFTs are digital representations of chefs. There are 500 men and 500 women tokens available, each with a unique name, like Chef Tasty, Chef Yummy, Chef Nasty and Chef Delivered. The cost per chef will be 0.08 ETH (or Ethereum), which translates to roughly $200. Verified shareholders of Cordia Corp. will be able to purchase up to five chef NFTs in a presale at half price. The NFT chef holders will then be invited to cooking events virtually and in person, and receive airdrops of the next series of Crypto Food Hall NFTs and discount codes for virtual restaurants. Menu item NFTs are now on sale and in April there will be a public sale of food hall locations. The Food Hall community connects on Discord and Telegram, as well as Instagram and of course, Facebook. So don't forget, go to supermarketguru.com, sign up for our newsletters, listen to our archives of this program, as well as Farm Food Facts, as well as Lost in the Supermarket. And we will see you same time, same place week right here.