The Lempert Report LIVE

Inflation Rate, Walmart Trucker, California Food Waste

April 18, 2022 Phil Lempert Episode 29
The Lempert Report LIVE
Inflation Rate, Walmart Trucker, California Food Waste
Show Notes Transcript

Welcome to The Lempert Report LIVE. this week there is no bigger food story than the rate of inflation. We'll ask be discussing kids & food, alt food futures, Walmart Truckers, food waste in California, spending on health & wellness remains higher than it was pre-pandemic, and Absolut Coachella.

Phil:

Welcome to the Lempert Report LIVE. Sally's on vacation this week. So you're stuck just with me. There's no bigger story in the food world than the rate of inflation that was reported in March by the CPI. Over the past 12 months, we've seen the price index for foods increase over 10% over the past 12 months on a monthly basis. Food at home prices rose 1.5%. According to BLS, it reflects the largest increase since March, 1981. When according to BLS data, the national average per for uncooked ground beef was $5 and 34 cents a pound. Today they report the same food as costing $17 and 24 cents. That's 222.82% increase. When we look at the March, 2022 data, the largest category increase is in fact for fats and oils at 14.9% followed by meats, poultry, fish, and eggs at 13.7% since March of last year. And these numbers really don't reflect the impact on the global food supply. As a result of the Russia , Ukrainian war domestically were faced with another looming disaster. Another round of avian flu, which is forcing farmers to call their flocks in the millions and has driven up the price of eggs sold to retailers between $2 and 80 cents and $2 and 89 cents a dozen for large grade , a white eggs. Now that's more than double what they cost just a month ago at about 25, a dozen, according to the U S D a Midwest regional egg report, according to the U S D a economic research service weekly household spending for food at home is now $148. Compare that with just $113 per week before the pandemic hit and , and hit us hard in the food world. But the reality that we face goes well beyond a slow return for many workers back into the labor pool, there are now over 112 food industry, 112,000 , sorry, food industry, job openings. According to the consumer brands association, trucking still needs more than 80,000 drivers. Rabobank insights include that refrigerated containers and dry van trucking rates jumped another four to 5% in January. The cost of shipping freight across our seas has increased tenfold climate conditions throughout the world has had a of effect on crop outputs, creating supply shortages. And I won't even touch the lack of efficiencies in our food production facilities that in some cases are still operating at about half of capacity. One topic that isn't being discussed or addressed that we must do is that the BLS data doesn't accurately address these price increases based on household income for those low income households who spent a disproportionate amount of their dollars on food at home, the impact is much larger. It's in a quality in inflation that must be understood and addressed by us all as we've talked about last week as the price of eggs and the move to more cage free eggs skyrocket for many of us, there's a little impact, but for low income households who consume eggs as their primary source of protein, the impact is much greater. The , we must commit as we continue to see food prices escalate over the next many months to fully understand the impact on all populations and not just look and report on the averages, which is what everybody in the media keeps on doing. Yes, having headlines that says 10% increase is , are dramatic, but for some it's well over double that let's get to our insights. First insight up today is that kids are less likely than adults to think of farm animals as food. There's a new study that's come out in the social psychology and personality science report that shows that this perspective develops between 11 year olds and adulthoods children see eating meat as less morally acceptable than do adults. Now, this study was done by Luke McGuire of the university of Exeter, and he surveyed 479 people across samples of kids, young adults and adults. And basically what they found is the animal's worth depended on its species and how they felt that the animal is usually treated and how it should be treated. The kids were less likely see a moral hierarchy between humans and animal and less likely to categorize farm animals as food. What that also means is that these kids are much more likely to be anti animal protein than pro plant protein. Next report that we've got is from I P E S uh , matter of fact of you that might not be familiar with it. I P E S is the international panel of experts on sustainable food systems. This comes outta food dive. Megan Poinsky did a great report and a great analysis of what this report has to say. And top line is the chain are necessary to ensure the future of our planet and humanity, and most important that a narrow focus on alternative protein misses the big picture, all the headlines keep on talking about alternative proteins, whether it's cellular agriculture, whether it's plant protein, but we've gotta really look at what's better for the environment and what consumers will actually adopt to, which is why we have scheduled our protein and plant evolution conference. Our symposium, make sure the, you sign up for it. Now we already have over 500 registrations and is gonna be the first time that we have both animal plant and cell protein people all in the same place, even though it's just virtually , um, expect , um, oh, I guess like Jerry Springer of protein , uh, to happen for us. And , um, also what this report points out is that it's really important to understand what does the most goods, whether it's increasing biodiversity access to better nutrition and not necessarily cutting greenhouse gas emissions, which something that we've really started to see a lot , um, in the headlines and their theme is that there are many definitions of the term sustainable. And while it most often means better for the environment, it's not limited to just that. And it's really the nuances , um , that make the food system better and can prove the food system that we really need to look at. And according to this report, it's getting a bit lost and that we need to move beyond misleading claims. So whether or not you want to say that alternative proteins or traditional animal agriculture is the winner, this report challenges that neither are actually the winners. And we have to look at both equally. I wanna ask you, is it time for a new career? Um, Walmart is now offering truckers starting salary between 95,000 and $110,000 a year as they scrap to really fill those, those jobs. The American trucking association reports, as I mentioned earlier, a shortage of over 80,000 truck drivers last Monday , President Joe Biden said his administration trucking action plan, didn't even realize that there was one, had helped pushed employment levels in the industry , business insider, previously reports, the trucking companies have begun recruiting drivers at gas stations and convenience stores. So be careful when you , when you drive up to that C store that you might have a trucker come over to you, don't be afraid. You just want you to go work for them. They're all offering perks now like lucky luxury truck stops with Masseues and pet bathing stations. Like we have to do a bit more research. It's possible that a lot of truck drivers are driving with their pets. Obviously if they're having pet bathing stations so Walmart is coming to the rescue of this. They're shifting its entire pay structure. So its drivers can up to $110,000 in the first year. Now, the interesting thing to know is that the start pay range for truck drivers, excluding Walmart is $50,340 a year that comes from BLS. So what we're seeing is that Walmart is doubling over doubling that in order to attract , uh, truck drivers right now, Walmart has about 12,000 drivers in the field. You might have noticed that there's a new California legislation that took place in January mandates that national retailers, including Amazon and Kroger, as well as small grocery and C-stores donate unsold food that redirects anything at of , from landfills and compost, anything inedible, it takes cities and counties with formulating local plans, a statewide goal of recovering 20% of edible food by 2025. But there's a problem with this. The problem is that what we're hearing from all the food banks is they cannot for because of the price of gas to go pick up this food. So we're playing this balancing act that says, okay, you can have all this food. We wanna feed people from food banks, but we can't afford to pick it up. So there's a new app that just came out. It is called five 30 food rescue. So five 30 food rescue that connects restaurants and grocery stores to volunteers. So check it out. If it's in your area, please help. Because those of us that , that are in California, we've got all this food, we can't get it to the food banks and frankly, that's a problem. And now it's time for the Lempert Report. Yes, the pandemic woke up a lot of people to the importance of a strong immunity and yes, lots of treadmills and pelotons were sold. But the question was, how long would this fad last? Would it become a long term trend that would impact the declining health of America? Well, we've got the answers courtesy of N P D as their latest study reports that spending on health and wellness remains higher than it was pre pandemic by double digits, sales revenue, doubled for air purifiers, massaging appliances for free weights and sound machines. However, when we take a look at two important areas, the foods that we eat and our kids, the story isn't so rosy, a new report on March 14th in JAMA pediatrics that studied a total of almost 175,000 children found that between 2016 and 2020, there were significant increases in kids, diagnosed anxiety and depression, decrease Susan physical activity and decreases in caregiver, mental and emotional wellbeing and coping with parental demands. Of course there was, these parents were working at home. Those demands were huge, and frankly it altered that whole family unit. After the onset of the pandemic specifically, there were significant year over year increases in kids diagnosed behavioral or conduct problems decreases in preventative medical care visits increases in unmet healthcare needs and increases in the proportion of young children whose parents quit decline or changed jobs because of child, child care problems. The pandemic worsened during the pandemic worsened eating disorders. According to the national eating disorders association among Hispanic, black, and Asian populations, where about as likely as white people to have eating disorders on a normal basis, but they're much less lead to receive professional help, especially on college campuses where treatment is hard to obtain, especially as many programs rely on family support. And often these students are very far from home. University of Wisconsin has initiated a telehealth support group to alleviate the LA offer support. According to the eating disorder center at the university, the rise in eating disorders is connected to higher rates of depression and anxiety, as well as isolation and reliance on social media for interaction and the stress of the pandemic. Now, the pandemic's longterm effects on our poppy are greater than we're estimating. And the role of the resources in every soup market in the nation should be amplified to help solve the problem. Now, it's time to further understand the global impact of our food supply and look to be what's about to happen. Here's a sneak peek from my last week, which we'll post later this week with Mac Marshall of the United Soy Board, an economist strategist, and frankly, one of the most knowledgeable ag experts we have for the complete episode, just go to SupermarketGuru.com after Wednesday, click on the lost in the supermarket I con . And here's what he has to say. So you're, you're painting a picture that really says to me that for most crops, we're gonna have some issues , not only because of the war, but climate change, getting truck parts. And so on specifically for us soy , um, where are we? Are we gonna have, you know, shortages? Are we gonna have, you know, the , the farmers out there working hard? Are we gonna have an abundant supply? Where do you think we're gonna look at when you look towards the future?

Mac:

Well, I think for the future, the , the , the future is bright. I mean, I think , um, it , it's very, very easy, you know, again, when you're in the world of commodity markets , market analysis, to have some degree of recency bias and be focused on the here and now, but I think as we look ahead, as we look, you know, several years down the line , um, <affirmative> , you know, we've got continued innovation happening on, you know, the input side , uh , farmers in the us have been able to, you know, continue to , uh , produce more and more and do so in an efficient way last year actually produced a record , uh , soybean crop , um, you know, not even on, on record area or anything. Um, and the , this is against the backdrop of a lot of drought conditions that prevailed through much of the summer. So I think that really underscored the resilience of us production and it's that resilience is gonna be critical in the years to come. So this year , um, you know, U S D a announced that we'd be planting potentially 91 million acres of soybeans , uh, surpassing, you know, just over 90 million acres, which is the record in 2017, you assume trend yields upon that. And that's a , a crop size of about 4.6 billion bushels or 125 million metric tons. That would be a record for us. Uh, and, and I think it really is important, but it doesn't make up for a lot of the production losses that have already happened this year. I think rebounding from that is gonna to take a couple , uh , a couple seasons to get through if you , if you really focus on a global level. Um, but , uh, but, but , but that I think is the, the beauty of continued innovation of hardworking farmers and , uh, you know, a , a globally integrated food supply chain, which has certainly come under pressure over the last couple years , uh, you know, through Covid , you know, as , as well as just , a lot of disruptions and logistical corridors, but it's these periods of disruption when the world, I think, is really feeling these pain points that also lead to creative solutions to help get out of it and set a better stage for the future. And that's not to discount. Um, you know, I think the difficulties that are unfolded right now in terms of, you know, global supply security and availability, but I'd like to think that the troubles that are unfolding right now can also be catalytic in creating efficiencies, going forward that allow for , um, you know , uh, greater levels of food security. Um , but we of course have to get through where we are now, but the first stage of that is getting that crop in the ground. And that's what our farmers are starting to do

Phil:

On today's bullseye. Let's talk about Coachella. This current generation's iteration of Woodstock is just 20 miles away from where I'm sitting. And while it started on Friday and runs through April 24th, it's expected to attract over 600,000 people this year, even amid COVID concerns and some events being canceled. One brand in particular, isn't too concerned, absolute vodka. The brand that changed the image, pricing and sale of vodka want to do it again, as they bring its Coachella space to the metaverse in a mix of real life and virtual experiences absolute this year, Marx 10th as being the official vodka@coachellabylaunchingabsolute.land . According to absolute .land is a convergence of art fashion music. And of course, cocktails made to bring people together, both in person and online. It's a space where festival goers on the ground and fans from all across the country and world can meet and bond over their shared love of festival culture. Through virtual drinks experiences, and more absolute will even have a physical tent designed to perfectly match the one you'll find in absolute.land . So it really is emerging of the physical and digital world. Now here's what you can expect on the three floors of absolute.land . And I urge you to check it out. There's the antigravity dance floor, which allows guests to flow from floor to floor in the grandest way possible. Something that was similar in second life, the absolute bar, which is the heart of the land acts as the central hub, with all the information you need to know, and is home to the resident. Bartender festival goers at Coachella, have a chance to take over the bartender, avatar through an interactive kiosk at the physical tent, they can mix virtual cocktails, chat with other avatars and even gift of course, and Ft wearables, the Citron media room, which was inspired by absolute citrus portfolio is a space for fans to mix and get access to exclusive content. The garden is an open air space where people can find collectibles that spotlight ingredients for signature cocktails, as well as hidden portals to other experiences. The museum gallery pays a tribute to absolute history of iconic art, which is phenomenal. The selfie room features, where would we be without a selfie room, by the way, features a colorful backdrop inspired by absolute born to mix campaign and gives fans a chance to capture and share their experiences in absolute.land . There's also a chance to win the ultimate Coachella NFT collectible. The pride tunnel is an all out rave paying homage to absolute involvement with the LT plus community. The rainbow rave is an all out dance party powered by pride that features a disco inspired dance floor. Fans have the opportunity to share their dance moves on social and gain access to exclusive absolute.land pride wearables. Welcome to the metaverse . We will continue to follow the metaverse for you and keep you up to speed on that , um, week after week. And before we up , let's head to see, I don't have Sally here this week, so I've gotta take a look at what comments we've got. Um, here's a fewTara, Olivia Tara. Hi , she says, hello, Phil. Hi, welcome. Um, John Pandol needs insights. I have to present to university students in a few weeks, John. So send me an email phil@supermarketguru.com . I'll send you a whole bunch of stuff including my latest PowerPoint of 2022 trends that we just did at the , RDBA virtual experience last week, Dave good friend. Can you send me more info on your protein? We will do that. There's also a link on SupermarketGuru. com, but don't worry, Dave, I'll send it to you right after this. Um, John also , um , has a comment. The unintended consequences of the food waste recovery law will be, and is one that will wait until the food spoils and is no longer consider edible. Then one can throw it out way cheaper. I've seen that done at wholesale level, John you're , right. It's a shame. It's a crime , uh, that we're doing that. Uh, John also has a comment about absolute selfie room equals create content and advertise my brand for free. Hey, absolut is , are brilliant marketers. Let's not ever forget that. Let's, let's also not forget that the standard of identity for vodka is that it's older , less colorless and tasteless. That's what you've gotta be. If you're a vodka, now you can add different flavors to it and so on, but it was really absolute that looked at that opportunity and said, Hey, we can double triple the price of vodka by doing all kinds of great marketing. Here's another instance of that. And , uh, Tara is asking me if I'll be at IDDBA in June, no Tara have to be in New York. Sorry. but you know, come back and give us a report of what you think of IDDBA this year, and we'll be happy to share your insights right here on the Lempert Report LIVE. So until next Monday, same time, same place , uh, be sure to check out SupermarketGuru .com and for the latest for our archives on this program, all of our other webcasts podcasts articles. And when you can check out retaildietitians .com to see what's going on, and please sign up for our newsletters as well. They're Freddy . Thanks again. Have a great week. And if you're heading to Coachella , let me know, take some pictures. We'll show it here next week. Thanks.