The Lempert Report LIVE

Metaverse Smell-A-Vision, Target Zero, Live Longer

March 21, 2022 Phil Lempert Episode 26
The Lempert Report LIVE
Metaverse Smell-A-Vision, Target Zero, Live Longer
Show Notes Transcript

Today we are discussing why is Walmart trying to copy target? Or should I say Targét - maybe the new hip is Walm-arché? Amazon takes a major stand on plant-based, and how we can all live longer. Metaverse update – all about aromas and on The Lempert Report an important look at food waste. Today’s Bullseye takes a look at McDonald’s move into the Metaverse.

Phil:

Welcome to the Lempert Report LIVE. Today, we're gonna talk about all this Bruha about Walmart trying to copy Target, or should I say Targét? Maybe the new hip is Walm-arché? Amazon takes a major stand on plant based, how we can all live longer, Metaverse update all about aromas and on the Lempert Report, an important look at food waste. Today's bullseye looks at McDonald's move into the metaverse. So let's get started. Sally. What's the latest news from Target and how impactful can this effort be?

Sally:

Well, Phil Target is one of the retailers joining the list to reduce waste, which is wonderful. So they've designed a Target zero icon that they are going to put on products that are specifically designed to be reusable refill or compostable.

Phil:

And I think what's so interesting is Target has a goal to reduce a hundred, to have a hundred percent of its own brand plastic packaging, be recyclable, compost , compostable, or reusable by 2025. And what they really wanna do is highlight this in beauty, personal care and household essentials. There's really no mention whether or not they're gonna do this on food packaging or not. But my hope is certainly that that that's something that they are gonna do. Talking about some of the news. I've gotta tell you the past couple weeks has really annoyed me as, as the FMI's power of meat report, you know, has come out. It's always a great report Anne Marie does a phenomenal job with it. But the headline is always meat. Department sales hit a record 81.8 billion i n 2021 up three tenths of a percent year over year. What annoys me about this is it's all about inflation meat prices increase 6.4% from 2020.14 and a half percent from 2029 , 2019, sorry. And the actual meat sales volume declined 5.6% between 2020 and 2021. So, you know, when, whenever we see these studies, we really have to go in depth and really get a sense. And the report's grade , it says how, you know, supermarkets, as you read past the headline have lost what other retailers have lost the than more than supermarkets, where their sales are going. The fact that traditional supermarkets went from 57% of consumers in 2018 saying that supermarkets were the top choice channel , formed by meat to 48% in 2022. To me, I would say that that's a signal that supermarket's better up, both the quality, the service, and maybe the pricing as it relates to their meat departments.

Sally:

Yes, meat has, has very, a obviously gotten expensive when you shop in the grocery store and it looks like some of these super centers and clubs are starting to take some of those customers away, even though their , their share is smaller in meat dollars. We've seen an increase super centers have gone up 5.3% compared to 2020, and clubs have gone up 1.4% compared to 2020 .

Phil:

Yeah. So, you know, wake up call to supermarkets, take a look at your meat department. If, if you remember years ago, all those Kroger trucks going nationwide that would say Kroger is meat , because they really put, you know, an on having the best meat department that's out there. Maybe it's time to, for retailers to really look, you know, look at their meat departments. What's going on with this whole controversy where everybody's saying that Walmart is trying to copy Target?

Sally:

Well, Walmart is trying something new. They are launching this initiative, this new design and approach to shopping that they're calling time well spent. Whereas in the beginning of the pandemic, they were focused more on not having to spend a lot of time being able to get things quickly and being able to get things ordered and delivered. But what we're looking at here is they're creating a corner displays with big screens, smart screens for people to get information with a little more put into the lighting design. And , it, it is , it is , a little bit like what Target has already done with their in-store design, but I'm not sure their they're making the mark here because I don't know that Walmart is cool.

Phil:

Yeah. I, I agree. And also , this great story really talks about the fact that the difference is that Walmart still has the metal ceilings, the open ceilings Target. It has lower ceilings that are white. So it looks warmer. What I find really interesting though, is that what Walmart is doing is they're really using QR codes in a very interesting way. Again, just in this one store it's not universal. So what they're doing is not only are they have having these curated areas in the store, but they might have a QR code there that says, you know, you wanna buy a hundred pound bag of, of dog food, just snap this QR code and we'll deliver it to you. It could bring up the entire collection for shirts, the dimensions on a piece of furniture, color options on furniture. You can do a QR code and find a shirt to match the pants that you're looking at. So what's, what's really interesting to me is not necessarily store format, but how Walmart is really going interactive with QR codes in a very meaningful way, much more than I think anybody else. And, you know, we've talked before about how Walmart has these, all these patents now, or trademark, sorry , in the metaverse and the, a QR code in the metaverse is gonna become even more important than it is now. So it , it it's, it's gonna be something to watch.

Sally:

Yes. I love the QR codes. I think that those are extremely helpful and really add a , a different layer to the shopping experience. You don't wanna have to grab a store employee and say, oh, I want this couch, but you know, how do I get it in this color? You know, you can just do it all right there. I just am concerned when they say things like, you know, we're not changing the warehouse ceilings a nd the warehouse look because that signifies to people value, which is great, but when it comes to home designs a nd things that you're going to, t o put in your house, yes, you w anna value, but you don't want it to look and feel cheap.

Phil:

Right. Right . And I , and I think that that's what Walmart, if, if I had to look into a crystal ball, I think that that , that's what Walmart is gonna try to do in the metaverse to become hip, not to, not to get rid of all the other Walmart shoppers, but to get a new generation of people who are going to shop in the metaverse be able to do all these things. And also, let's not forget. I mean, Walmart has 11,400 and I think 41 stores throughout the us . So in order to change those stores, it's something that's really, really expensive , to do. Talking about online shopping Amazon, once again, has taken, taken a step forward, even though everybody keeps on thumbing their nose at Amazon in the food world. I am not one of those people. Amazon just launched their fresh plant b ased initiative, 15 products including grillable pa tties, almond milk, ground meat, substitute chicken nuggets, obviously not from chicken. And what's interesting to me about this two, two aspects. Number one is they're really promoting the health attributes of every item really highlighting those. But what they're doing is they're also giving consumers a discount of 20% substantial on these new products through the introduction. Oobviously it's just through the end of March, maybe they'll extend it, but if you're interested either from a competitive standpoint or just a personal standpoint, you know, get on Amazon and you co uld s ave some money as well.

Sally:

Yes. That's a great way to introduce these products to people, to offer a discount. And, you know, the, the private label arena is really exploding. And so is the plant based arena. In fact, I'm, I'm super excited about the protein and plant conference coming up in June that the food Institute is putting on with us. And so we're gonna talk a lot about things in that arena, but it's excellent to see Amazon getting into that, into that area and offering some alternatives.

Phil:

And when we look at plant based , you know, the, the data continues to come out. Yet another story talking about the blue zones, the blue zones have been around for a while and the five blue zones where the people are the healthiest and, you know, it's, Sardinia, Italy and their major diet is chickpeas, fava beans and white beans. Then we've got in Japan, tofu and ate in Costa Rica, pumpkin seeds , black beans, and quinoa in Greece, chickpeas , lentils, and almonds, and lo Melinda , California, at least one city in the us makes the list. It's all about flax and chia seeds. But the interesting thing is what they, what they talk about is it's not just mere typically in all these area, these five areas these people consume about two ounces of meat , animal protein, every, I'm sorry, they consume five portions of two ounce meat every month. So they are including meat and they eat seafood, but they eat things like s ardines a nd Cod much more so, so I really do think that as we expand into plant b ased, we should not forget about that. Fabulous, you know, book, the blue zones that came out, c uz I think there's still a lot of learnings that when the book came out, you know, people weren't ready for it, but I they're ready for it now.

Sally:

Yes. And you know, Phil, I am a big fan of Dan Butner and his book, the blue zones I've read two of his books now. And I love that it is that it is catered more to a flexitarian diet. He, he, he shows that these people, that, by the way, these are the people in these five areas that h a l ive the longest t hat anyone in the world, these are people living over a hundred years old. And he, he just with, you know, no judgment examined what they were eating, but they eat meat and seafood more as a side dish to the plant-based foods. And, and there's a lot, there's a , there's a growing number of people that are interested in the flexitarian diet. They don't wanna be vegetarians. They don't wanna be vegan. They wanna keep eating their meat, but they also wanna introduce more plants.

Phil:

Exactly. And I think, you know, what, what Butner had had pointed out, it's all about balance and I don't care what the diet is. The extreme diets don't work. Long term , they're not healthy long term . And if we could really convince, and to your point, this is one of the reasons that we're doing the protein and plant evolution. If we can really have this balance between them. So it's not all the animal protein people, either investing in or saying they don't wanna get involved with plants or the plant-based people just pointing a finger at the animals saying, Hey, this is destroying the planet . It's destroying your health and so on. And really come to a meeting of the minds, I think will be very successful. And some news again, this is the first week in June. We've we have a soft opening for registration. We're not really pushing too hard. We're well over 400 registrants that have signed up already. So if you haven't signed up, go to supermarketguru .com , sign up for it . We will be closing registrations, not yet certain, but when it hits probably about a thousand, we will. So we still have about another 600 seats left. So make, make sure you join us. There is no cost to it, but a lot of great educational sessions over this three day period. When we look at the past , I think that there's a lot of from the past. And when we look at selling food, we really have to sell food with all five senses, really having a multisensory experience. So when I was a kid there was something in movies that never made it and it was called smell vision . And they had a whole bunch of, of competitive products that were out there. I think there was Odor-rama and so on. And basically what they would do in movie theaters is everything from having very scientific ways to reduce different aromas, to basically just taking some, putting it, you know, in cotton and then blowing a fan through the air ducts or then even dropping, you know, perfume in air conditioning. None of that worked for a whole variety of reasons, either it didn't get to everybody in the theater or it was just so overpowering that people eyes would tear or just didn't smell very well fast forward to now. And this kind of technology is being used and has been used for a while in Disneyland and Disney world in some of their rides. There, there are 70 a hundred different scents that are being used this way, but it looks to me now that we're gonna see a major advance in food and the metaverse because of smell.

Sally:

I'm so curious to see how this plays out. It's really fast. This British tech company O w smell digital has already raised 1.3 million to support this technology that they're developing. And they're hoping to add this technology to people that are in the VR world, in the metaverse so that they can have a truly immersive real life experience when they are interacting with food.

Phil:

And when you look at a lot of the research that's being done is aromas do bring up good and sometimes bad memories of childhood. Again, you know, how many times do we have to talk about, you know, going in holiday time to a relatives , kitchen and having the aroma of a pumpkin pie or an apple pie or whatever else. And it just makes you feel so good. So if we could bring this to the, metaverse kind of interesting to watch.

Sally:

Definitely I'm reminded of the , of the KFC logs that you can buy that smell like the fried chicken. You know, I wonder if we'll see KFC using this technology so that when you go into their metaverse world, you're smelling fried chicken.

Phil:

I hope not. I hope I , I I've never understood those logs or the candles that, that smell like different food. I don't frankly, think that KFCs fried chicken smells good. It's like grease. You know, why do I wanna smell grease? And now it’s time for The Lempert Report. Gen Z, Millennials Take On Food Waste. I’m a proud graduate of Drexel University in Philadelphia – and have huge admiration for Dr. Jonathan Deutsch, a professor and director of Drexel’s Food Lab, who has seen that students who come into the classes he teaches want to take action on solving food waste. “They don’t want to just sit in a lecture hearing about food waste problems, then take a test. They want to come up with solutions and engage deeply,” he says. The Drexel Food Lab students learn about sustainability issues within the food system. The idea is that rather than just gain skills and knowledge to become chefs, food scientists, or hospitality managers, they can prepare to do more. “For example, Deutsch says, instead of just focusing on making nice cuts that are uniform in size they also think about what to do with scraps and trim from a full product utilization and upcycling perspective”. He goes on to explain the differences between generations. “I feel like folks from my generation—(Gen X/pre-Millennials)— tend to think the problems we have are someone else’s problems and are being managed by experts. They would donate to a food bank and feel like they are doing their part by giving money or food to an established system. [Conversely], youth are more inclined to want to do the work themselves.” Good for Drexel. On today’s Bullseye we explore how fast food giant McDonalds is thinking about the metaverse. McDonald's recently filed applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, that largely center around the $36 billion company's expansion into the "virtual food and beverage sector." Trademark attorney Josh Gerben tweeted about what he sees in their applications. He says that McDonald's is really after: "operating a virtual restaurant online featuring home delivery." Unlike so many brands that are over hyping NFTs and other Metaverse applications – McDonalds wants to keep it simple – and for many grocery e-commerce players they should take note. It’s a way to create a better more fun user experience without over complicating. Kelly Main writes in Inc. magazine that there are 3 guideposts to an effective metaverse strategy. 1. Sell what sells for you. No one decides to swing into a McDonald's because they're looking to invest some money or buy some artwork. So when McDonald's decided to join the metaverse, it wasn't just an attempt to stay relevant or to sell something totally new, but to keep selling exactly what sells: real-life burgers, fries, and other food products. 2. Meet people where they are. A future where people are spending their time in the metaverse means that they're not going out to a McDonald's restaurant in person. But that doesn't mean McDonald's needs to lose the opportunity to feed hungry people looking for a bite to eat. And so McDonald's is using the metaverse to meet people where they are--a key to finding customers--by giving them the ability to visit a McDonald's in the metaverse and order real food, which will get delivered to their real homes. 3. Offer a clear value. Because they can get via the metaverse exactly what they would get from a real-life McDonald's restaurant, it will reduce friction and drive sales. After all, people know how much a burger and a shake costs, and when they buy it, they know exactly what they will get for their money. The genius of McDonald's entry into the metaverse is that it proves you can be true to your brand DNA AND explore new technologies. For McDonald’s and other businesses the metaverse is just another platform to reach customers and make sales. Don’t over think it and imagine how cryptocurrency or NFTs will expand your business or make you hip. It’s just a Big Mac. So thank you for joining us. Don't forget to go to supermarket guru.com, sign up for the protein and plant evolution, and also be sure to sign up for our newsletters until then keep on looking. We post new stories up every single day, and we'll see you back here next Monday, 11 Pacific time , two 30 Eastern time , and have a great .