The Lempert Report LIVE

No More Gorillas, Aging Diets, Walmart Drones

December 07, 2021 Phil Lempert Episode 12
The Lempert Report LIVE
No More Gorillas, Aging Diets, Walmart Drones
Show Notes Transcript

On today’s episode we talk CVS, Dollar Tree, Walmart and how our diets are affecting the environment and how we age. Our Lempert Report is focused on yet another twist to the supply chain and on bullseye – it’s all about yet another brand that lost its way. 

Phil:

Welcome to the Lempert Report LIVE. I hope you had a great Thanksgiving now we're in the midst of Hanukkah and then on Christmas Kwanza and new year, are you ready? They're coming quick. On today's episode, we talk CVS, Dollar Tree and how our diets are affecting the environment and how we age. Our Lempert Report is focused on yet another twist to the supply chain and on bullseye. It's all about yet another brand that lost its way. We would love for you to add your insights during the broadcast and the chat. And we'll take those at the end of the broadcast. We bring you our unique insights on grocery retail, sustainability, e-commerce new product reviews and consumer trends, Sally, what's up. And what are the issues to discuss this week?

Sally:

Hi, Phil CVS is pulling some greeting cards from their shelves , um, in response to pet requesting that they do this. Um, they're going to take off all the cards that have , um, the great apes or chimpanzees , um, dressed up in cute costumes or drinking a beer. You've seen these cards in the store that , um, are cute and funny, but pet feels like it's misleading to consumers and it's sending a message that these ch chimpanzees, the species is doing well. And they're not, they're actually an endangered species.

Phil:

So, you know, when I read this , um, and I understand Peter's position , um, I, I also happen to love those gorilla and Chimp cards. Mm-hmm I think they're great. U m, a nd, a nd I think that there's a compromise here that nobody's talking about. What about for every card that has either a Chimp or a gorilla or whatever endangered species are not just limited to, t o those two species. U m, why don't they, you know, give back 10% of the profit to world w ildlife fund to be able to help t hem versus just eliminating the cards. You know, you're sweeping it under the carpet. Why not use this? C uz they're just so popular to raise money, to help them?

Sally:

Absolutely. I think that's a great idea. And the world wildlife fund, I know my son has received , um, images from friends as gifts before of, of animals that are endangered and the money went to the world wildlife fund . So I think that's a great idea. And if consumers knew that then , uh , maybe they would feel better about buying those cards at CVS. Yeah. And

Phil:

I don't even think consumers, you know , uh , care, I think it's pita . So let's raise some money for pita and all these other groups by, by selling these cards. I think that just makes a lot more sense. And by the way, I don't know if you saw it, but last week on 60 minutes was a terrific story about apes in, I think it was in Zimbabwe , um, and how they've been able to turn that , um, they were down to maybe 200 and now what they're doing is they're up to, I think, six 50 , um, of them. And , um, as a result, it's turned a profit for that area because it's now a big tourist thing. Um , it , they're not in a zoo they're just still in the wildlife and so on. So nobody should be concerned. Mm-hmm <affirmative> uh , but now a lot of tourists are coming to see them. Um, and it's brought, I forgot how many millions of dollars , but I wanna say 10 or 20 million to that region, which is now funding schools and farms and everything else. So, you know, that , that's what gave me the idea is let's use these cards to raise money. Let's not eliminate them .

Sally:

That's fantastic .

Phil:

So what else we got ?

Sally:

Well, Dollar Tree is ditching , uh, dollar items. Uh, they have seen their, their profit margin fall , um, from what is typically 35% to 30%. So as a response, you know, you know, for so long, they have been this store that has promoted the fact that they have a fixed price, but they are to have to change that now. And they also are gonna be raising prices by about 25% on the majority of its products.

Phil:

So we're gonna see their name change from dollar tree to dollar and 25 cents?

Sally:

Well, I wonder what sort of conversation is, is happening with that myself. Yeah.

Phil:

And yeah. And, and also to be honest with you, since they bought family dollar, they've been in trouble , uh, but you know, their profit margin is 35%. That's much higher than the traditional supermarket is. So I understand what they're doing, but I think they're also gonna lose a lot of customers , um, as they do it, even though it's only 25%, even only it's a quarter. Um, I still think that their image for the past 35 years of being, you know, a dollar or under mm-hmm <affirmative> , um , is, is gonna hurt. So it'll be interesting to see because the other , uh, the other stores , um , you know , uh, dollar store and so on , um , they've been selling thing for over a dollar for a while . Mm-hmm <affirmative> , uh , but dollar tree, you know, keeps on saying just a dollar, just a dollar and maybe had they raised prices more gradually, they would get a lot less PR and turn off a lot less people. So, you know, I understand that , um, my diet contributes more to climate change than your diet does. Tell us about that. <laugh>

Sally:

Well, we're seeing some studies coming out of the UK showing that men are actually eating a lot more meat than women. And I don't know if that's necessarily surprising being that. I think maybe men just eat more food than women. Um, but, but what we're finding is that that their meat heavy diets are causing 40% more climate emissions than women's do.

Phil:

And it goes beyond just meat. Uh, the men are eating or consuming more coffee, alcohol and cake, and all of those are contributors as well. Um, so I don't know. I mean, I , I guess for me, does this help, does it help men have a better diet? Those , those men who are concerned about the environment is this a wake up call that says eat healthier? And what , what I also love about this study , uh , part two of the study looked at , um, Western countries and found that vegan and vegetarian diets were about a third, less expensive to buy than typical diets. Um, so, you know, when we keep on hearing that going plant based or going vegan or eating more fruits and vegetables is more expensive, this study proves that it's not , uh , compared seven sustainable diets to the current typical diet in 150 countries using food prices from the world bank and have found that in high income countries like the us vegan diets were the most affordable reducing food costs by 21 to 34%. Um, and then vegetarians were a close second with 27 to 31% reduction in cost Arian that has low amounts of meat and dairy reduced cost by 14%. But what surprised me a fish based pescatarian diet actually increased cost by 2%. Now, what we don't know is whether or not the fish based diet was based on the price of fresh fish from that fresh fish counter or frozen fish, because what we know is frozen fish is about 30 to 40% less expensive mm-hmm <affirmative> . So I think if you buy fish in the frozen food case, you would still still see a reduction

Sally:

Agreed. And, and what I, I I'm with you on what was most interesting about this study? I think it think it is great to see that, you know, you can eat less meat and, and save money, but also , um, that the message is not necessarily stop eating meat, but there are these other items as well, dairy alcohol , um, you know, processed foods, these cakes and confectionary, these items also are what things that we could look at rather than we can't eat meat. You know, we can look at other areas of changing our diets as well. Yeah.

Phil:

And I would also, you know, and , and again, we don't have the full study mm-hmm <affirmative> so it's hard to, to comment, but, you know , um, I would , I would love to see a comparison made of the , uh , climate impact of, for example, a cake , uh , factory , um, you know, what, what the carbon impact is of making ringings and snowballs and twins , uh , versus other kinds of factories, because there, there are so highly processed foods I would expect. And I don't know this for sure, but I would expect that they emit more , um, stuff into the air from their factories than if you just had a meat packing plant mm-hmm <affirmative> , uh , which, which really isn't, you know, creating that much , um, of a disaster, but we'll find out. And any of our viewers, please, if you , uh , feel free to add that kind of information into the comment , uh , box, and we will take it at the end of the episode. So Sally, Walmart's doing something cool.

Sally:

Walmart is doing something cool and, you know, kind of, kind of unbelievable and, and seems unrealistic, but they they're now using , uh , drones and zip, these zip line planes at , uh, three particular stores in one region , um, to deliver items like diapers , um, there smaller items available like tuna. Um, I think ramen was on the list of things you could get. Like it depends, it all kind of depends on what the weight adds up to. So as you're ordering, you're also adding up the weight of the items that you're getting, because they're actually going to, you know, take this drone to your house and lower this cable with your box of items into your yard.

Phil:

So they're really doing two things. One is, you know, the box lowered by a cable to your yard. And the other one is with the zip line , which actually is a plane , um, that they can go 50 miles. Mm-hmm <affirmative> the zip line is only a mile radius from the store. Yeah . The zip line can go over 50 miles and what they do and this, I just don't get. Um, and I'm not , um, a pilot or an aerodynamic , um, expert or a physicist. What they're doing is they're dropping your box of goods by parachute mm-hmm <affirmative>. So , um, you know, we've all seen the commercials from Amazon and everybody else saying at holiday time, you know, make sure, you know, we're it , that we don't leave a box on your doorstep because people are gonna , you know, steal it. So if I look up in the sky and I see a parachute coming down with a box, and we know if there's winds, the parachute might not make it directly to my house. Mm-hmm , <affirmative> , isn't there the opportunity for people to run and see the shoot , you know, and grab the box before the person who ordered it actually did.

Sally:

It seems like so many things could happen. What if it goes into your pool, you know, or lands on your roof?

Phil:

Yeah . What if it

Sally:

Gets caught in a tree ? I mean, it , it does seem like so many things could go wrong, but I'm sure that there are some, there's some interesting technology applied to it.

Phil:

I guess I, I can only hope, but I'm not gonna order anything by parachute. What else we got?

Sally:

Well, today we're thinking about , uh , it's a lot of us because we're coming towards the end of the year and people start really turning to thinking about their health and how they can improve it for the new year. One thing that has been really , um, really popular in the past year or so is , um, diets that , um, increase your lifespan, these anti-aging diets, but the problem with a lot of these diets, which a lot of them are , are including some sort of fasting, whether it's intermittent fasting or , um , fasting, mimicking, which is, which is where you don't completely fast, but you just eat certain nutrients that enable your body to, to mimic fasting. But the problem with these diets is that there's not a lot of science or evidence to back up. Um, the fact that they actually do what they're promoted for.

Phil:

And most of the studies, if not all the studies have been done on rodents mm-hmm <affirmative> . Um , and, and I know we love using rodents to test all kinds of things on, but that's still not a human being. And if we look at the science to your point, basically, if you wanna live a longer life, eat less, eat less calories. Um , it doesn't make a difference what you're eating, but if your BMI is in check , um, if you're at the proper weight, you will live longer and healthier and better.

Sally:

Yeah. If you are using the same amount of energy that you are putting into your body, then , um, that seems to be unanimous across the board. That that is, that is , um, that is eating well, taking care of your body. Well,

Phil:

And we have to remember as we're going into the holidays, even though we just finished Thanksgiving, but I was, I don't know about you, but I was good on Thanksgiving. I did not overeat on Thanksgiving.

Sally:

Well, we didn't really either. We had, so we had less leftovers than we normally do, but I think that we , um, that my mother-in-law, you know, she bought a smaller Turkey cuz that's all she could get this year. And so yep . You know, it was, it worked out fine.

Phil:

That's great . Well, thanks ally .

Sally:

Thank you

Phil:

Today on the leper report, it's a supply chain stupid on November 29th, the federal trade commission launched its inquiry into supply chain disruptions. They've ordered retailers, including Walmart, Amazon, and Kroger to turn over information, to help them study the causes of high prices and empty shelves. But they've also included for what I think is the first time wholesalers and including P and G Tyson and craft Heines. I applaud that for what could be that they're taking a much more holistic view versus just looking at one particular industry such as meat packing . But there are two groups that I wish were also around the table. Smaller manufacturers who have been devastated along with farmers and ranchers who are faced with the inability to get their products to market. As we've discussed before, there are three major issues that we all and the FTC need to address climate change, the labor shortage and transportation. One underlying problem that business insider points out is that the us food supply relies heavily on foreign workers. Here are the facts. Food related industries historically rely on low wage immigrant labor. And now facing shortages that labor pool is also shrinking as foreign born workers seek opportunities in other industries, if immigration maintain it's 2016 levels, the us would have 2 million more people today. Global supply chain problems are intrinsically tied to labor issues, but the us food supply chain is facing a particular labor shortage that has deepened over the past five years, foreign born workers, no question with all publicity and threats, immigration declined under the presidency of Donald Trump, given the 75% labor force participation rate of foreign Bo residents that works out to 1.5 million fewer workers available to fill those 10 million open jobs in the economy today. And as a lot of , of, you know, very well, a lot of these open jobs are in food related industries, including agriculture processing, retail, food service, and other services that have a history of relying on these low wage immigrant laborers, including undocumented workers. Many of these undocumented workers in particular re restaurants that have shut down says business insider lost their jobs. While those who contain continued to work were in frontline positions where they were more likely to be infected such as in meat processing plants with documented large outbreaks, a U S D a study finds that as many as half of hired laborers in crop agriculture did not have the immigration status needed to work. Legally here in the us undocumented workers make up about 10% of the restaurant industry. And as much as 40% in some urban centers, according to eater , mostly concentrated in back of house roles for the FTC and the white house to understand and to solve these issues. They must bring everyone to the table, not just the big guys yesterday. I had the privilege to interview my first Nobel prize winner, governor David Beasley. Who's now the executive director of the UN's world food program and is challenging the likes of Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk to step up and help save millions of lives around the world. He wants them to donate just 3% of their income. He's going after those 11 people who will have, have over a trillion dollars worth of net worth. Next Thursday, he'll be in Olo Norway to accept his prize and address the Nobel peace prize forum, visit U S F A's Facebook page and website to watch the entire conversation and understand just what a serious problem we all have. And it's Quent and it's consequences for us all. And also the way you're describing the right way. When we look at agriculture is also giving people the tools to have a life. It's not just giving them a box of food once, but they're gonna have food for the rest of their lives. So what do we collectively need to do to raise awareness of the importance of the next 30 harvests and why this decade matters now in agriculture ,

David:

Uh , this decade matters big time . Uh , when we look at the future and the numbers , uh, everybody should be alarmed, but unfortunately the media's not balancing that display of information out there like it should. Uh, but we've got an opportunity when you look at the, just in the United States alone, the agricultural expertise for the farmers and ranchers , uh , that care about the earth. They care about the planet, care about their children and the more productive we can be and then take those best practices and put them in places in Africa and rest of the world there's region . We can in hunger, quite frankly, you know , the , the SDGs, the sustainable development goals, like number two, N we hunger about 2030 , that really is, is doable. But with manmade conflict and all the things we're facing, we're going in the wrong direction. And as I tell the United nations, and I tell others , I said , look, you're not gonna solve this problem through government alone, through the United nations and through charity, it's got to be the private sector. We have got to get the American farmer, the ranchers, and have them engaged , not just better in strategic farming in the United States, but Hey, help us in these countries to end hunger and change the way agricultural is done. And there's no reason for example, Africa should feed. I mean the whole world, but Africa for certain should be feeding Africa. And there's no reason for that not to be happening. And this is where I think the taxpayers and particularly the farmers and the ranchers in America who get it, they understand it. They know what we're talking about. They know what the beauty and the , of our planet's all about and how it can produce. And we can do it in such a way. That's good for everybody. And so I've got to have the engagement of the , of the American farmer. It's critical.

Phil:

And now it's time for the bullseye. I just love brilliant marketing ideas. I respect them. And in many cases, they make me jealous that I wasn't the one who thought of them. And then there are those that make me shutter. Remember in the early two thousands, when Hines came up with their green ketchup , it was an overnight sensation and bumped up sales, but the brand was greedy. So they introduced blue then purple ketchup, which floundered after all, how much ketchup does one family need. And even the kids bugging their moms to buy it is not gonna solve the problem. No question. The kids just loved brightly colored everything, including foods. But then as a last resort, a brand manager decide to try one more idea, a mystery bottle, where you had no idea what color the ketchup was. It could be orange, it could be teal or even purple. This brand manager, I suppose just didn't realize that parents were becoming more concerned about artificial colors as especially those that look like that they could glow in the dark. And these products proved to be a disaster, not on the shelves anymore. Turkey hill, in my opinion, is one of the best ice creams on the market. And they've decided to follow the Heines debacle, or maybe they just hired that brand manager who knows, but starting January , their limited edition mystery flavor is hitting soup market shells. They're also running a contest for what they call flavor detectives to win free ice cream for life. Hey, I would love that the contest launches on December 31st and runs through March 14th. Wait a minute. If I can go to my soup , Mar are getting by the mystery flavor, starting in January. How much of a flavor detective do I really need to be? I don't get it. If the flavor's that obscure that after trying it, I can't figure it out. And the real question in today's world of scores of ice cream flavors from the likes of Ben and Jerry's and Hogan Doss with consumers, being more about their foods than ever before and more kids with food allergies, why would they buy a mystery flavor? Doesn't make sense. Now, the package image that they sent me does not proclaim no artificial colors, no artificial ingredients, and didn't contain an ingredient or nutritional facts panel. The most shocking, relevant revelation is that they're calling it frozen dairy dessert. So it isn't even ice cream. I don't know about you, but I'll stick to a flavor that I enjoy and that I know what's inside the carton. What about you? Would you buy it, Sally? Let's head to the questions.

Sally:

Well, today we don't have any questions, Phil , but we do have some great comments from John Panal, who always makes me laugh a little bit every week. So I think we should share them. Okay. Uh , <laugh> first off, he says, dollar stores go the way of the five and dimes. So tough to find penny candy these days. Yep . And , um, he says, wait, if I have a radio beacon on the roof that guides in the drone drop , the porch pirates would have to steal my ladder to get the package, right.

Phil:

But John, how are you gonna go up on the roof to get it? <laugh> you're , you're gonna need that ladder or two .

Sally:

And, and then he says in my favorite comment of his, for the day shamed for laughing at gorilla greeting cards and man size stakes are a threat to the planet, this and more in every de edition of the daily scold woke journalism at its best. Yeah.

Phil:

So, John , I, I agree with you , but also back to your point about the penny candy , um , I'm gonna share with you a very personal story, which is very sad. So as a kid , um, what happened is, and you might have done the same thing and Sally, you're probably too young to have done it, but we had these blue books , um, that you would collect pennies in. And it was by year. So I, I was very diligent about it and I had practically, I think there were two or three books depending on the years. Um, and I had practically filled them all up with all my pennies. And then one day I really got yearning for Penn candy. So what I did like an idiot is I took all the pennies at that I had collected for years. And I went down to Tony's candy store, which was about two blocks away. And I bought penny candy with all my pennies that were probably worth 10 times , um , what they were as a penny. So very, very sad story. Oh no. <laugh> oh, no. So thank you for visiting us today, John and everybody else. And remember to go to supermarket GU and sign up for our newsletters and also feel free during the week to add your comments to our Facebook, to our Twitter, to our LinkedIn. And until next week, we'll see you here again, Thursday at 10:00 AM, Pacific 1:00 PM. Eastern for more of the Le report live.