The Lempert Report LIVE

Bad Vegans, Chief Taco Officer, McDonald's Personality Quiz

May 02, 2022 Phil Lempert Episode 31
The Lempert Report LIVE
Bad Vegans, Chief Taco Officer, McDonald's Personality Quiz
Show Notes Transcript

Welcome to The Lempert Report LIVE. Tom Vilsak takes a stand on climate smart, Pop culture and bad vegans, Indonesia strikes back – maybe, out of stocks latest dilemma, time to really look at your bottled water, a new food world on the metaverse, tropicana wants to change breakfast, Sally shares a new job listing for those seeking a new challenge and forget about Myers Briggs – McDonald’s has a new personality quiz.

Phil:

Welcome to the Lempert Report LIVE. Tom Vilsak takes a stand on climate smart ,pop culture and bad vegans -the intersection. Indonesia strikes back, maybe they do, maybe they don't. Out of stocks latest dilemma, time to really look at your bottled water, a new food world in the metaverse .Tropicana wants to change breakfast. Sally's gonna share a new job listing for those seeking a new challenge and forget about Meyers Briggs, McDonald's has a new personality quiz. And as you might hear today, we are live from New York city with the associated noise and sirens and all kinds of stuff. So Sally what's on secretary Vilsak's mind these days.

Sally:

Well, Phil , secretary Vilsak is saying that there's a lot of interest in a new program called the climate smart commodity program. They have so many applications for this program that they don't think that the $1 billion they have to fund it is going to cut it.

Phil:

Yeah. And what's so interesting. So , this is on April 25th. They started, you know, receiving all these , all this paperwork for people to get these grants. The, the grants are for projects that measure greenhouse gas impact from various practices and farming forestry and food processing and distribution very worthwhile program. But to Vilsac's point, they don't t hink that it's g onna be enough money to get all these programs. And I think one of the most important things that they find is they're gonna learn so much from this. You know, w hat, what we all know we've talked about here and on Farm Food Facts is that farming has the potential to absorb and hold carbon through soil practices and to reduce emissions all that great stuff. So what we need to do is, is we need to really impress upon Congress that they need some more money. The question is, is that gonna happen?

Sally:

The 1 billion, to me, does seem like not a lot of money for something that is so important for the help of our planet for our food system. I mean, this is going to provide them with a lot of great data where they have gaps, you know, in the U S D S has got, has got gaps in their data. And they wanna know about livestock and conservation and, and what they have is really old data. So it is a very important program and they also might be working towards a climate smart labeling program through this. So , I think that they need more money.

Phil:

Yeah, I, I agree. You know, it's gotta come from somewhere and it's gonna come from us as taxpayers . Certainly, but Congress really needs to understand. And to your point, you're making a very important point, Sally, that a lot of the data, especially as it relates to lifestyle and animals is five years old, 10 years old, and it really needs to be updated. Talking about updates , social media , all, all this stuff that, that we've talked about with food has become even more important on television now than ever before. I don't know if you've taken a look, I have not. So l et m e start there, at this series, I believe, I don't know whether it's on HBO. No, it's on Netflix, Bad Vegan, about th is s tory, about th is c hef and her boyfriend husband that built all th ese, including Alec Baldwin out of all this money, they then ran, they then got caught by ordering a Domino's pizza. I mean, hello, you know, how stupid can you be? I guess you were smart enough to steal millions of dollars, but stupid enough to get caught because you ordered a pizza with your real name. But with it's interesting to me is not about them. The restaurant was very famous, was called Pure Food and Wine. But the fact that we're really seeing in our culture, especially in our , our TV culture, more of an importance of food than ever before it was cooking shows, it was Julia Child. It was Jacque Papan. I mean, people like that. And then obviously the food network launched some 20 odd years ago, but what I love is some other programs that incorporate food with a message. So for example, in 2007 King of the Hill had an episode called "Raising Steaks" and basically , Hank's hippie acquaintance , Apple Seed , convinces Hank and his family to give the cornucopia co-op a go. Because Hank was very disappointed with the quality of steaks that he got at the Big Box Mega Lo Mart. We've seen on Netflix, another one called Chicago Party Aunt. We're seeing just all kinds of references to food. And, you know, I wonder, I wonder whether or not this is , this is necessarily good. Is it, is it good PR for these programs to either make fun of stores or food? And what's the impact as it relates to people's perception about health now in the , in the case of Bad Vegan, what we're hearing and what we're seeing on social media is people are just saying, oh, these vegans, I mean, they're out there. They're , they're just pushing the envelope. They really don't know, you know, the reality of how people eat. What do you think?

Sally:

Well , full disclosure, I consider myself a hippie when it comes to food. I'll go ahead and say that.

Phil:

I consider you a hippie too.

Sally:

Yes. I do. That being said, you know, this idea of making fun of, of hippie food, you know, vegans, vegetarians, healthy eaters, y ou k now, it's been around for a long time and, you know, I don't think it's a big deal for us to laugh about things like that. You remember the Portlandi episode with the couple wanting to know, you know, where the chicken lived, how it lived, everything they could possibly know about the chicken. And it's funny, but what we a ll o ur finding is that there is this division. I think that's coming out in social media and happening as a result of this kidding about t he, about, these type of food cultures, where we're not looking at health food, from "okay, well, what i s, is this good for me? What is the science behind it?" We're looking at it more like this is a social s tatement, or it's pretentious to feel this way. It's self righteous. You think you're better than me because you are a vegetarian. And I think this is a place where retail dietitians can really come to the rescue and help with that m essage a nd t ake a ll of that garbage out o f the messaging and just, you know, personalizing nutrition for people. So it's not. You have to be this, or you have to be that .

Phil:

I'm also concerned about kids. So with Rosalie and Eli and Tony's kids, Tony's boys, you know, when we , and they hear this stuff on TV, you know, what's, their perception is their perception of the hippie vegan food, a positive or negative. And if in fact, they subscribe to that kind of diet and that kind of nutrition does that ostracize them from their friends who still want to eat a big Mac.

Sally:

You know, that's a really good question. And I find it fascinating to see what the food culture is like with my children and their peers. One thing that I'm noticing, and, you know, my kids have a very diverse environment in their schools. So they have some kids that eat a certain way because of religion. And it doesn't, you know, it doesn't mean anything to them. They also see are a generation that is very focused on the planet and, you know, they think the older generations should have taken care of it better. And so, so they are interested in what ways we can eat and farm that have a positive impact on the planet.

Phil:

Yeah. Great. You know, great lesson for all of us to learn. I'm very concerned about what's gone on with Indonesia. So Indonesia last week expanded its embargo to exports of Palm oil. And while on the surface, you would say, oh, who cares? Well, the reality is that Indonesia is the world's largest supplier of Palm oil. And just about every snack food has Palm oil , just about, I think about 50% of all of our processed foods have it in it, and this is gonna create a huge problem for major food companies , Unilever, Nestle, P,&G, Ferrero , Mondeliez. All these major companies, because they're gonna have to resource, which is gonna cost them more. Palm oil is also a really good ingredient to manufacture foods. It's easy to, to process on it. So we're gonna have, you know, some major problems. In fact , Tobin Corey who's the director of agriculture strategy at the Commonwealth bank of Australia said that this band "is one of the biggest acts of agriculture nationalism so far during this surge of food prices." So I think we're gonna see more of it. What bothers me also, besides, you know, playing politics with food, which is, I think what we're gonna see because of Russia because of Ukraine. Now, because of Indonesia is, I remember Phil Sokolof and this goes back 20, 25 years ago, where Phil had had a heart attack. He was an industrialist out of Omaha, made a lot of money. And what his doctor told him is, you know, avoid Palmetic oils like coconut oil, like Palm oil and so on. And he took full page ads out in the New York times, Wall Street Journal, USA today, talking about the evils of that, but, you know, because of the cost of Palm oil, the texture, the lack of it, you know, bottom line is manufacturers have been drawn to it. And, you know, we don't really hear the story about Palm oil whether it's good or bad for us anymore. So, you've got the nutrition side and you've got this, you know political side of it . And I think that if I was the CEO of a major food company, now I'd be really worried about, you know, my recipes, because, don't forget, it's not just, you know , getting rid of Palm oil, it's changing all the packaging. It's figuring out how to make those recipes. It's changing what's on every retailer's website, as far as ingredients go nutritional information. So this is a really big deal.

Sally:

Yes it is. And, and it goes beyond the food products. It also, you know, retailers should know that about 70% of beauty and cosmetic products have Palm oil in it too. So they have a huge need for this ingredient in that whole world. It definitely seems like it it's going to, that companies are going to take a hit because of it. But I did read that it is predicted that this might just go on for a month . So if that's the case, then maybe we can get through it to recover quickly.

Phil:

Yeah. So Indonesia's gonna have a reality check when they don't have any money coming in because they're not exporting. Online consumers are very frustrated. We talk a lot here about out-of-stocks, where people are going into supermarkets, they're seeing empty shelves, they're seeing products that, you know, aren't making it through the supply chain, but now we're looking at a survey from lucid works that really looked at the eCommerce side of out of stocks. And what they're finding, which is fascinating to me, 58% of consumers at every visit online find a preferred grocery item, unavailable 58% of people it's unavailable. So this is their latest study. It's called shoppers stay hungry, online groceries on the internet in 2022 less than a third of E-grocery shoppers will stay on the same site or an app to find a substitute and 90% site, at least one product for which they won't accept a substitute due to ingredients preparation. And so on and half of respondents, almost half 47% said, they're gonna go to a different retailer if they can't find what they need on that retailer's app or website. It's really under important. And we've said this, you know for a while now , we're probably two or three years when I go on these eCommerce sites, whether it be third party sites or whether it be retailers own sites that the ingredients are wrong, the nutritional information is wrong. And if in fact we're relying on AI to be able to recommend that you have a different alternative if you're outta stock, but the data is wrong, you know, how can you get the right product? I mean, I just experienced that about a week or so ago, I placed an order for about 30 products and six of them were not available and the recommendations that came up, weren't even close to what I was looking for.

Sally:

Yes. And, and I've experienced this too, Phil. In fact, I ordered groceries this weekend and you know, I think about two thirds of my groceries came, you know, some of things that keep coming up , our bagels are out here, hummus, pretzel, chips, Gatorade.

Phil:

There's no way, there's no way that they're out.

Sally:

Yes. And a big one that's been for a while is saltine crackers. Those have been really hard to get as well. And, you know, I've stopped having my shopper make substitutions for, because, because I end up getting things that we don't want to eat and I paid for them. And so it is, I think this, this survey is really important because what, what the key component is, is that there's more communication or better communication that needs to happen between the retailer and the shopper. And what I've found interesting is that 80% are more inclined to make a purchase. If they're alerted when that product is low, when it's low in stock. And 60% prefer to be notified via email or, or, and 44% of text when something is back stock. So they want their retailer to tell them, okay, this is low. Now, go ahead and stock up or let them know when it's back in stock.

Phil:

So it's interesting. I don't know if you've ever had this experience, but I have never gotten either an email or a text , from a gross retailer that has said when a product is back in stock, I've , I've never gotten that.

Sally:

That has never happened to me either. And you know, some of the people in this survey, 20% said that they would just like that, that item added to their virtual cart automatically when it comes back in stock. Yeah. And that seems that's, that would be a great benefit if you could opt into that.

Phil:

And it's, and it's a no-brainer, you know , from a technology standpoint to do so check out the survey lucid works it's a terrific survey and really, almost a Bible as, as we're really struggling to figure out where eCommerce is going or not. So bottled water has been questioned for 20 years, 30 years, since it first came on the market. We've heard questions about where's the water really come from, you know, the couple years ago, or I guess probably about 10 years ago, one of the major brands on the east coast somebody did an analysis and found that while it was coming from a spring, the spring was actually under a parking lot. You know, that , that a lot of this water stuff, which is why it's so important when you get bottled water to read the fine print, is it purified water from municipal source? Which so many of them are, is it reverse osmosis? Does it actually come from, from a spring somewhere? But now there's, there's this latest scandal, which I I've gotta tell you when I read this, I was shocked. I was bemused and I, and I just had to shake my head saying this has gotta be the stupidest company in the world, or at least their attorneys are. So if you recall, Nestle sold off their general commercial waters, like Poland Spring and Arrowhead, and so on, they sold that off maybe a year or so ago, the new company's called Blue Triton. And there's a group that is suing them, brought them to court. And I'll tell you the name of the group in a second , it's on this piece of paper here,where you might be able to find it faster.

Sally:

It's the Earth Island Institute.

Phil:

Thank you, the Earth Island Institute. So what they're saying is that while all these water companies that what they're saying is that the claims that these water companies are doing about their packaging about their plastic packaging are bogus. Just to give you some idea. Blue Triton alone contributes hundreds of millions of pounds of plastic to the US landfills. They own about a third of bottled water brands here in the US, but their attorneys, their attorneys answered this by saying that being environment friendly or its claims of being environmentally friendly are not violations of the law because they're aspirational, even though on their website, they spell out a promise for sustainable stewardship for pine trees , pristine water, and clouds. You know , they, they're saying that everyone should realize that their claims, this is what their attorney writes, that their claims are meaningless nonsense.

Sally:

Yes. And this is, this is incredibly insulting to consumers. I feel , to manipulate them that way and then not take responsibility, you know, or just say, or, or just make a statement that, you know, well, that's the way it's interesting. I was having a conversation when I was in Spain last week with a friend of mine, because the recycling way that they recycle there or make it available to you is, is really wonderful. But when I was talking to my friend about this who lives over there, you know, her comment was, you know, but recycling plastic is a scam. And I think we all are really confused about, okay, if I'm buying these, you know, these , pet plastic bottles, is that better? Sm I being better if I'm putting these in the recycle bin, is that better? If I'm buying from a company like Blue Triton, that's giving me this message that they are keeping bottles out of the landfill. You know, it's, it's, it's such a gray area with all of these companies and, and you don't know if you are doing the right thing. I personally enjoyed the fact that when I was in San Francisco this last year, that everywhere that I went to buy water was it was in an aluminum bottle . Dasani was aluminum. I didn't see any plastic bottles. And I think we just gotta move away from plastic.

Phil:

Absolutely. And, you know, Blue Triton CEO, if you're listening or watching fire your attorneys, I mean, t hese, these have gotta be the stupidest people ever, and we have a big problem b ecause Blue Triton is touting itself as a solution to America's water problems. At the same time, they've been caught extracting water from the national forest without authorization. I mean, this story just goes on and on and on about how these companies a re making all these empty promises about the environment and we're to the point where we don't have a choice, we, we really don't have a choice anymore. When it comes to climate change, when it comes to the environment, you know, we're consuming more plastic than ever before. In fact, the average person is drinking more than 1700 tiny bits of plastic per week in drinking water, 1700 tiny bits of plastic. I don't want that in my body. So what I'm gonna is, I'm gonna not drink water and plastic . I'm just gonna drink all my water in the metaverse and the foodverse because then I don't have to worry. Right.

Sally:

Exactly. Yeah . Because you're not really drinking anything or eating anything, but there is a great benefit to the food world in the metaverse. And, you know, earlier you were talking about food in TV and how it became a popular theme and all these different types of cooking shows. And I really think that this is next level for food here and for chefs and brands and restaurants to get in there and connect with consumers and a really creative way for people to learn about food.

Phil:

There's a new metaverse specifically for food. It is called One Rare and what it is, it has chefs, brands, restaurants, producers, farmers in this digital universe. They w ant t o create a new d ialogue between consumers and food professionals. And what they w ant t o do is, right now, it's gonna expand, but there's a f armer's market, a kitchen where you can discover recipes, farmlands where farmers virtually grow all kinds of crops and much more. Here's the sad part, they've developed its own digital tokens a nd NFTs so that you can buy stuff either in real l ife restaurants or collect ingredients and follow recipes where you can have NFT artworks. I don't want an NFT artwork. What I want is, I w ant t o be able to go o n the metaverse find out about products, buy products that I c an then pick up in my s upermarket.

Sally:

Agreed. That seems like a better use of it.

Phil:

I hope . And now it’s time for The Lempert Report. PAUSE. Are you a breakfast cereal eater? How about granola? One of your favorites? Well, now you can get a free box of granola. Just go to TropicanaCrunch.com. Wednesday is National Orange Juice Day – yes, that’s a real thing – and to celebrate Tropicana wants us to pour orange juice on our granola. TropicanaCrunch is not available in stores – just online and they are free while supplies last. The granola was specially formulated to mix with your OJ instead of milk. The cereal recipe is described on the box as a honey almond cereal. The package and website explains that the flavor was chosen to balance the acidity of the orange juice. Each box of Tropicana Crunch includes a drinking straw – I guess the idea is that whatever juice is left at the bottom of the bowl you can slurp it up. Their website promotes the OJ and cereal combination as “an unforgettable breakfast experience” – is that a good thing? Not sure the the brand manager or ad exec that thought this one up thinks so as it also says on the website “whether you hate it or love it, you won’t know until you try it”. Guess that brand manager will be looking for their next job – Sally, any suggestionsfor that next job?

Sally:

Well, they are hiring a lot in the retail and restaurant world, and there are some interesting jobs out out there. The good news is, is that the bureau of labor statistics says that we've gotten 431,000 jobs added just in March bringing the unemployment rate to 3.6. Now, prior to the pandemic, the unemployment rate was 3.5%. So we're getting close to where we were. Hopefully America is enjoying getting back to work, but if they aren't, there is a new position at Favor, a Texas based food delivery company for Chief Taco Officer. The qualifications are you have to love tacos, driving around the state of Texas, and posting social media . You're gonna stay in Texas cities for two days, and you're gonna have two taco meals delivered to you per day from Favor. So you have breakfast and you have dinner. You write about it on social media. And for all of this, you're gonna get $10,000 free travel and accommodations, free food and free delivery from the company for one year. So I don't know if the position has been filled yet. I don't think so, but if you'd like to apply, then , now's the time

Phil:

On today’s Bullseye let’s talk about McDonald’s. Erich Barganier writes in Mashed about McDonald’s new McNugget Personality Quiz. The fast food giant’s personality quiz not only reveals insights about one’s McNugget habits but is also tied to saving money on your next order. This chart depicts the 4 McNugget personality types – The Sharer, Shape Connoisseur, Sauce Superfan and The Creative Type. The archetype I find fascinating and confusing at the same time is the Shape Connoisseur. I admit I haven’t had or seen McNuggets in a very long time – but different shapes? Yes, McNuggets are made from 100% chicken, breading, spices and are deep fried – but they are formed into shape – so I’m just wondering about those customers who are searching for different shapes? Last week on April 27th those who took the personality quiz were rewarded with a $1 off when you used the McDonald’s app to take the quiz. Smart marketing and a way to increase usage of their app – they want you to pre-order your meal before you get to the restaurant. By the way, for those McDonald’s McNuggets lovers, you should know that there is actually a Guinness World Record holder for the most chicken nuggets eaten, Nela Zisser, a former New Zealand beauty queen and medical student gobbled (sorry) 16 McNuggets in 60 seconds. By the way, she also holds the record for eating 22 Big Macs in an hour and 27 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups in 100 seconds. Model, Med Student and Competitive Eater Champion.. Sally, what do you think?

Sally:

I'm just, I'm just blown away to hear that a doctor and a model. I'd like to get to know her more and find out what her secret is. C uz I don't know that it's the nuggets.

Phil:

I don't think it's the nuggets. And can you imagine eating 22 big Macs in an hour? think the last time that I had a big Mac and this goes back always, you know, I could barely finish one big Mac Uhhuh . So the idea of eating 22 , I just don't don't get it. So that's it for today's episode live from New York. Uh, so I sound like Saturday night live it it's Monday, Monday, noon live right here. So be sure to visit SupermarketGuru.com, sign up for our newsletters. You can look at the archives of previous Lempert Report LIVE's, and please s end us your comments, whether you agree or disagree or whether, you know, you w anna a pply for that t aco t aster j ob that Sally w as t alking a bout, h ave a g reat week.