The Lempert Report LIVE

Amazon Home Cooking, Costco & Shoplifting, Food Pick up Anxiety

December 20, 2021 Phil Lempert Episode 14
The Lempert Report LIVE
Amazon Home Cooking, Costco & Shoplifting, Food Pick up Anxiety
Show Notes Transcript

Just nine days till Christmas – are you ready? Head the warnings from Amazon, FedEx, UPS and the Postal Service about receiving packages in time. If you can ship today – or better yet deliver in person and give a hug. On today’s episode we talk about the newest challenges for fast delivery, the proof that home cooking is here to stay, the truth about retail shoplifiting, how the impact of influencers is changing what foods people buy, a new bottled water with prebiotics, and the continued debate over a new meat food law.

Phil:

On today's episode, we talk about the newest challenges for fast delivery. The proof that home cooking is here to stay the truth about retail shoplifting, how the impact of influencers is changing, what foods people buy and a new bottled water prebiotics, and the continued debate over a new meat food law . We would love for you to add your insights during the broadcast in the chat. And we'll take those at the end of the segment, but live does have about a 22nd delay. So don't wait till the end, add your comments throughout the broadcast so we can make sure that we highlight them. We bring you our unique insights on grocery retail, sustainability e-commerce new product reviews and consumer trends. Sally, what's going on today.

Sally:

Hi, Phil. Remember a couple of weeks ago when we talked about Chick-fil-A and how they were reporting that about 34, a percent of the people in the drive through line were just jumping ship because they were frustrated about not getting their food fast enough. Well, there's a new report from Oracle , uh, that is, that has some interesting data about this. It it's telling us that people really like these tech driven options of ordering food ahead of time and picking it. But what we're also hearing is that more than half 55% are really frustrated if they don't get their food in the drive through in within five minutes and, and within 10 minutes, 54% want their food when they're dining in a restaurant.

Phil:

So what's interesting to me is that, you know, the 55% who say the five minutes is too long in a drive through . I agree with that. Um , because sitting in your car for five minutes with a car in front of you, a car behind you, you feel trapped , um , there's nowhere to go. Um , so that one, I agree. And, and if we look back in history, what we see is McDonald's especially , um , really spending a lot of time speeding up their orders. I , I think at one point I was in the back house of a McDonald's. They had a clock there , a stop watch clock for every order. And their goal was under a minute. Um, obviously during the pandemic that's changed somewhat, but I agree with that. However, the idea that 54% were annoyed waiting more than 10 minutes while dining in a restaurant that I don't get. I mean, when you're in a restaurant, hopefully, and I'm not talking about , um, olive garden or something like that, but hopefully they're making your food to order and to make food to order in 10 minutes, that's really pushing it. Um, and, and, you know, frankly, that's why restaurants give us bread beforehand to shut us up. So, so we don't complain , um , that our food is taking too long. They also found , um , that nearly half said that they felt the delivery and takeout orders results in longer weights when they order in person. So ordering in person is not the preference it's ordering online before you get there. And a third said that the atmosphere of the ironing in is hurt by delivery drivers who are picking up food. I agree with that. I've gotta tell you I've been in restaurants where the guy from DoorDash or Uber eats or whatever else comes in and they get preferential treatment to me sitting there, you know, waiting, waiting for my food. So what , what are your thoughts about that?

Sally:

Well, I see your frustration and I have seen the same thing at restaurants here in Nashville, especially, it's more frustrating in the smaller space ones where the , where the counter is right there at the doorway and the food is sitting right up there. Um, I wonder about the health implications of , um, a culture of people wanting their food so quickly like that. But my other thought about this is that, you know, some of these restaurants they're working with , um , limited seating and limited staff. And so they probably do wanna move people in and out so that they can get more sales. So I think we're, we're dealing with a lot of different challenges here and it , it's not necessarily just the impatience of people.

Phil:

You know, you , you bring up another point that makes me think if we're really into, you know, fast pickup and fast delivery, I wonder how that's affecting the way we eat. Are we eating faster as a result of that? Or is it just about getting the food fast, then we bring it home. Then we relax. Then we take the appropriate amount of time to enjoy our food, or are we rushing through it? What do you think?

Sally:

I wonder about that too. And I think that would be a great study. I wonder how many people eat that food in the car before they get home?

Phil:

Yeah . Yeah. And, and also one more point before we move on the study also found that 46% would love to manage their dietary preferences when it comes to ordering online or on pickup . And for the most part, I mean, certainly we have that in soup market sites , uh , with folks like spoon guru and , and other folks where you have that function when you order online. But I haven't seen it as it relates to restaurants at all. Um , so, so that's really a call to action for restaurants to say, Hey, you know, people want dietary preferences when they order do that. What else do we got?

Sally:

Well, Phil , um, podcast listening has become really popular. I think the pandemic even , um, drove some of the, the listening stats up on podcasts, especially listening at home today. 50% of podcast listening happens at home, which is up 10 percentage points from that's from three years ago. And that's what Nielsen is reporting right now. But here's another interesting thing for the food world that they're , that they're , uh , telling us is that, is that people who listen to podcasts are 2.5 times more than non podcast listeners that ordered restaurant and grocery delivery was , did I say that clearly? <laugh>

Phil:

Yes. Yeah, you did. And , and what's curious for me , um, and when I read that, I wish that Nielsen, would've gone a little bit more in depth and give us some analysis of why is it because, you know, people are just now to your point, sitting at home, listening to podcasts. So as a result of that , um, you know, they don't want to get out of their chair as they're listening to the podcast. So, you know, they're listening to the podcast, pick up their iPhone and then deliver. Uh, but I'd like to know that. And also when we look at the categories , um , that are the top categories , uh , for listening in podcasts and number one is kids and family category. Um , for those who use the , the grocery delivery services, which obviously talks about the fact that these are more families versus single people for those who use meal kit delivery services, it's TV and film podcasts. And you want to take a guess of what fans prefer restaurant delivery services as their first choice.

Sally:

Um, I'm not sure

Phil:

True crime. I don't get that one at all, but true crime is, is the number one choice for, for that group? What else we got

Sally:

That is a very popular genre <laugh> um , so next up , uh , 17 kitchen products, Amazon shoppers are hoping to receive as gifts this holiday season. So Amazon put together , um, what the top items for the kitchen that people put on their wishlist. Do you have one of those wishlists Phil ? You know, you can, you can set up and, and your friends and family can look at your wishlist, what you want. <laugh> no, no,

Phil:

Just statues . I statues, that's it. That's on my wishlist. So, so what's interesting about this list. Um, and this is , um, the most wish for list across all of Amazon. So this is not just relegated to food or to kitchen products. And I think that's important to note , um, number one is the pyx three piece glass measuring cut upset, I guess, fine on stainless steel, mixing bowls, number two, kitchen gizmo, snap , and strain clip on strainer. I had to look at this , um , online and basically what it is. It's a strainer that hooks onto a pot so that when you're making pasta, for example, you can put it right in the strainer , um, and it drips into the pot, but I'm confused on how you use it, because if it's hooked onto the pot, how can you take the pot and put the pasta in the strainer without spilling it all over the counter? Just doesn't make a lot of sense to me. But the , the point of it is that of the hundred , uh , total items that, that are on their list. These 17 are all food related . And , um, it really, you know, underscores the fact that people are gonna be continuing to cook at home. Um, if , if the number one requested item is a , a three piece pyx measuring , uh , cup. And I think that most of us have a Pyrex measuring cup at home, but the fact that we want, you know, a three pack of it, three different sizes , uh, in one hand, it's scary to me that this is what people are thinking about, but the other hand, it , it really said as people are gonna be cooking more at home, whether it's because of the economy, whether it's because of the pandemic, whether it's because they're getting back into home cooking, you know, in a meaningful way , um, or they just wanna , you know, measure out, you know, the right amount of tequila and lime juice for their margarita. I don't know

Sally:

Who knows. I thought it , it was a very interesting list as well. And I did notice , um, this , there were two different strainers. You mentioned one, and there's a pasta roller and cutter attachment. And, you know, TikTok , um , released what their top , uh, recipe trends, recipe videos were for the year. And first and third were both pasta dishes . The first one being the very popular feta bake pasta. So I thought that was interesting. And , and a lot of things on there that look like baking. Um, the most amazing one for me was the , um , the Butan , uh , torch, torch . <laugh> I guess people are making CRE

Phil:

I guess I, I have no idea. I have no idea, but you know, home shopping is good. And also what, what grocery retailers need to do is look at this list from Amazon and really be able to make sure that they're carrying these products in their stores, because clearly this is what consumers want build an end cap display in the front of the store with these 17 items, you increase sales, and you're gonna steal sales away from Amazon where people can just pick it up themselves. Um, there's some new news about Costco, or maybe some old news about Costco. What's that?

Sally:

Well, Costco is rewarding that they are checking receipts. When people leave the store now for a , which

Phil:

Have always done the boys done that.

Sally:

Yeah . Right. And for a Costco shopper, this can, this could probably take a minute because you know, some people go to Costco to buy larger items or a lot of items. And so, so this could take a minute, but they're saying that the reason they're doing this is not because they are suspicious of shoplifting. They're doing this because they're finding that people are under are overcharged and they want to make sure they're not overcharged or that if they buy movie tickets, something like that, they have to remind them that they need to go to another counter to get those before they leave. So they're saying that this is a service to the customer. What do you think?

Phil:

I think it's all about shoplifting. <laugh> I don't care what kind of spin they put to it. Um, and by the way, I think it's appropriate. Um, as you point out, there's a lot of expensive items in Costco. Uh, there's one store manager who was interviewed, said that his store does 10 to 12 receipt. It's a day. So they're not doing it for everybody. And with many of them, the customers learn , they were overcharged and they get some money back. I don't understand in today's world with technology at the front end, with barcodes, how these people can be getting overcharged. It just doesn't make sense to me. Um, so I think it's Costco , um, trying to be the nice guy saying, oh, we don't think you're stealing anything. <laugh> . And especially right now, with all these gangs who are, who are running into, whether it's Costco, home Depot , uh, fancy department stores, where they rush, you know, they break the glass cases, they steal stuff. And they run out, which is really here in , in Los Angeles becoming a huge issue and a huge safety problem, as well as the theft problem. I think Costco is just trying to take the lead and say, we trust you. We're just doing this for you. We're gonna give you back, you know, $10 on that $500 TV that you bought. I don't think so. Um, what about what food influencers are, are up to and what they're saying now?

Sally:

Well, we, we, we have been hearing a lot , um, especially over the past year about what sort of influence social media has on the choices people make. Um, and now specifically to the foods that they eat, there's a great experiment that happened at , um, I'm looking up the name of it, and it's a French school in Le in Le France, the school of management. Um, and what this professor did was she set up two Twitter accounts, one with 400,000 followers, one with only 20 followers . And so she posted to the same Twitter accounts, healthy salads, healthy foods. Um, but the one with the 400,000 followers , um, showed that people were more inclined to engage and possibly to wanna eat that salad that is posted there than the one with 23 followers, suggesting that we wanna mimic the behaviors of people that we think are popular , um, or doing something, you know, that is attractive.

Phil:

And what the report goes on to, to talk about is that , um, not only do we have this huge influence, but on social media, from an imagery standpoint, those people who engage , uh, or post pictures of fast food, they have a higher amount of, of followers, a higher amount of influence than those people who are, you know, posting healthy foods. So what the report really does is also talk about what people who are , uh , posting healthy foods can do in order to make their, their, you know, post more attractive to, to people and have more followers. Uh, the thing that was interesting to me is they point out that, you know, in advertising, you see unhealthy food in social settings, people having a barbecue with friends, for example, while healthy food often focuses more on the nutritional value. If you see friends eating a salad together, it will, it seem so credible. Uh , so it's a real good point , whether it's for, you know , um , retailers who are , who are promoting it, brands who are promoting it, we've gotta make those foods , uh, look a little bit sexier those environments , uh, sexier for people to really want to eat those healthier foods. Again, just seeing somebody with a big bowl of salad, you know, chomping down and chewing isn't as exciting as somebody flipping a burger.

Sally:

Agreed. I think that there's so much value to studies like this because we can approach , um , people with , um , unhealthy eating habits and people that are facing, dealing with obesity , um , by reprogramming, you know, with these, with these types of visuals, so that , um, so that they, they are encouraged to eat better.

Phil:

I agree with you totally. Well, thanks Sally. We'll be back. Uh , Sally's gonna take our com your comments and your insights , um, later on in the program. But first here we go with the leper report. Last week's cover story on Newsweek magazine showed a huge burger and splashed across the photo was a warning label. The headline was toxic food. The story included a great photo reminiscent of Morgan Spurlock , supersized me movie poster that showed a partial face that was stuff with , of the burgers , surrounded or engulfed with French fries, powerful images, all meant to shock the reader into changing our diets. The cover story sets the stage in its opening. Paragraph being severely overweight has never been so dangerous during COVID 19 epidemic Americans who are obese with that. Any other risk factors were hospitalized at three times. The rate of those who weren't by some estimates when combined with other diet related health conditions, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes, obesity raises the risk of hospitalization sixfold and the risk of death twelvefold wow. Enough to scare all of us. The discussion is mainly about the evils of overprocessed food, which has reported in Newsweek accounts for 57% of calorie that are consumed by Americans in 2017 and 2018. The last year's survey, no doubt today, as a result of the pandemic, I would guesstimate that that percentage is even higher. Our friend Marion Neel professor Erta at New York university is quoted as saying that we now have the evidence, particularly in the last five years that people who eat more Ultrapro foods have higher risk of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, depression, cancer, renal, and liver diseases. The studies have been overwhelming. There have been hundreds and hundreds of them. There's no doubt that the is not a good thing. It's a problem. She says, this is an important article. That's a must read for everyone in the food world while some may disagree philosophically with the premise that big food is formulating their products on purpose to become addictive and loaded with sugars, salt, and fat, and other ingredients that may harm our health and , and wellbeing. The underlying truth is that we here in the us have the cheapest food supply in the world. And much of that has to do with the recipes and formulations that companies have developed as our consumers become more aware of what they eat and become more empowered to not only read labels, but underst and the implications of what they say, we're at the Prebys of change. Do we take a deep breath and leap forward and change our food world for the better, or do we just stay doomed to fall off that cliff? The choice is ours and the food world must stand up for what is right in the long view, the food companies that align with the values of our consumers who want to eat those foods that can make our lives healthier, better and longer will be the ones who win. I lost in the soup market . I interviewed Barry CLO chief product officer of wind shop a digital e-commerce platform, working with leading retailers, including Wakeford United soup markets to grow successful online businesses. Here's a snippet of what he had to say about the challenges confronting all grocery retailers for the full interview. Check it out on supermarket guru.com. Barry let's get started by sharing the top line of what wind saw is all about

Barry:

Wynshop is an end to end consumer platform for online grocery. It's a designer, a user design led user interface. It's a, a , a business empowerment tooling capability to allow a grocer to trade and merchandise their business , and it's profit focused order fulfillment capability to allow the profitably run that online end to end ecosystem , uh , for online grocery .

Phil:

Well, when I look at the news that I hear , uh, certainly , um , most reports show that the average grocery loses about $10 , uh , per delivery order. And also we look at all the problems with supply chain from your vantage point, how can wind help them?

Barry:

So , first of all, I think it's really important that the grocers are in this space. They're properly invested in this space and they're committed to it. And when we have the capability to, to really help them build a significant business, build a very healthy basket size. And if they embrace the capability to, to drive of revenue on the front end, to oper , to maniacally really approach the operational efficiencies, they need to be able to do in the backend in particular, around order picking and, and delivery. Um , I think groceries can really turn the tile in terms of the profitability that they have . We help them really, by making sure that they've got all of the tools in the front end to be able to build , engage those consumers, find them where they are , inspire them and persuade them items to the basket , all the merchandising capability that they might need and the search management tool they need for it to able to do that. We then provide the , the picking capability, which is the efficiency to be able to really drive costs down . And then we also provide a capability for retail , be able to send those orders , uh , to any number of last mile delivery providers. So that capability to be able to leverage those different last providers is very important, as well as you think about the prices that are going to be in place in that last , uh , part , the area , this industry at this point in time ,

Phil:

The , this week's new product review is yet another new entrant into the bottled water category. Do we really need another bottled water? Vibi Vibi is a flavored water with 27% of the R D for fiber loaded with vitamins B folate pthe acid and ni no sugar. So me fat each bottle contains just 15 calories. Our score it's an 83. I really have to question whether or not we want our water to contain these functional ingredients while six grams of Nin or B3, vitamin is not harmful. The tolerable level for adults is 35 milligrams a day. Is it ne especially since this also contains vitamin B6, now the texture of the water itself, something that we really don't think a lot about is not as smooth as my pallet likes. I can actually taste the difference between bottled waters. I'm sure you can, as well. And the aroma and the taste of blueberry P pomegranate oay E is a bit overpowering. Clearly this is a water to be consumed by itself, not with foods. It contains Steve and I still can't get over. Why products like this are labeled non GMO vegan, gluten for keto certified. I'd like to have them explain a bit more about on the label, how it supports gut health and supports the immune system. If in fact you're gonna be a functional beverage, tell us why it's functional. Hey, it's just water. Now. It's time for the bullseye. In November, 2018, California voters passed proposition 12 by a two to one ratio that required breeding pigs, egging chickens, and veal calves. Be given enough space to stand and turn around in their pens. In the case of pigs, that means about 24 square foot or approximately a five by five foot space. The law is set to take effect on January 1st, 2022 , a lawsuit was filed last month to delay this for a 28 month period, due to the fact that the agencies have not completed the final regulations and are still accepting public comments this month. Hey, we know it's a pandemic. There's no question about it. It's still a , just about everything for us. But the reality is that egg and veal producers are able to meet the January. First deadline hog farmers argue that the changes cannot be carried out by the deadline and the expenses would increase their cost about 15% a pig. What's not stated in the lawsuit for are the delay. And is the harsh reality is that during the pandemic, all farmers and ranchers have had their operations upturned by equipment delays, labor and trucking shortages. And certainly the harsh weather conditions that we're seeing across the nation. Having said that, and not taking sides here, there are two issues that must be Des discussed and addressed first and foremost is that choppers are looking for more humane treatment of animals that makes its way into our food supply. A survey of 2000 people that was commissioned by compassion in world farming found that 68% of us would welcome animal welfare labels on our foods and beverages. Another survey from the national secular society found that 72% of shoppers want labels on foods that reveal how animals were slaughtered yet. Another survey are they buying it, us consumers, changing attitudes towards more human raised meat, eggs, and dairy reports that consumers would also pay up premium price. 32% for eggs, 48% for chicken, for those products that are raised under a trustworthy welfare certification. Now there are producers like Neiman ranch in Colorado and Iowa farmer, Ron Marsden, who already conformed to the California standards and are receiving a premium price for their products. Chris Aveo general manager of Niman told the associated press that he hopes that the new California rules will help change the system. And he hopes that the rules also help limit environmental consequences of large scale animal agriculture. There's a little doubt in my mind that long term , this is a good move that helps the industry and consumers align their needs and values together. What I don't like is the headline grabbing opportunistic statements that apply that bacon will disappear from our store shut or increase prices by 60%. Well, a UC Davis study gives us reality and they found that there will be an increase in cost in bacon, but the number is 8% consumers want this kind of labeling ranchers know that it's the right thing to do, and will most likely be able to increase their margins. Let's get past the scare tactics and do what's right for all, including the pig. So reminder, just go to supermarket guru.com to sign up for all of our newsletters, get the latest news and also check out retail, dieticians.com to see what's going on in our soup market from a health and wellness standpoint until next week, have a great week.