The Lempert Report LIVE

TikTok Food Delivery, Junk Food Ads, Food Metaverse

December 23, 2021 Phil Lempert Episode 15
The Lempert Report LIVE
TikTok Food Delivery, Junk Food Ads, Food Metaverse
Show Notes Transcript

All of us at The Lempert Report, SupermarketGuru.com and the Retail Dietitians Business Alliance want to wish you and yours a very merry Christmas and Happy New Year. We will be taking off next Thursday – but will be back right here on Thursday January 6th at 1pm eastern – 10am Pacific for our next episode. On today’s episode we explore the latest list of America’s Most Trusted Grocery Stores – and question it’s accuracy, a chat with Allison Delany of Stop & Shop, how Tik Tok is preparing to ‘own’ food delivery and we walk down Aldi’s Aisle of Shame – and mush more – including a plant based tuna alternative in our product reviews.

Phil:

Welcome to the Lempert Report LIVE all of us at theLempert Report, supermarket guru.com and the retail dieticians business Alliance want to wish you and yours, a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. We'll be taking off next Thursday, but we'll be right back here on Thursday, January 6th at 1:00 PM. Eastern 10:00 AM Pacific for our next episode today, we're gonna explore the latest list of America's most trusted grocery stores and frankly question its acuracy. We're gonna have a chat with Allison Delaney of stop and shop looking at how TikTok is preparing to own food delivery. And together we're gonna walk down all these aisle of shame, much, much more common, including a plant-based tuna alternative in our product reviews. And bottom is we bring you our unique insights on grocery retail, sustainability e-commerce new product reviews and consumer trends. Sally, what's going on this week.

Sally:

Hi, Phil. As all of the trend reports are coming in at the end of the year, we're seeing a lot about TikTok . TikTok has really taken off, especially in the last year and particularly when it comes to food. Uh , there were so many popular viral videos on there this year with different dishes. And now TikTok is partnering with virtual dining concepts to actually , uh , make these foods available for delivery.

Phil:

What I love about this is the TikTok is doing things a little differently. As you mentioned, they're working with virtual dining concept who is, is really looking at the menu items and figuring out how to bring them to the masses. So what they're doing is they've set it up where they're working with existing restaurant. VDC is doing the standards. The local restaurants are doing it. They're not building dark kitchens throughout the country. They're really becoming a new revenue source for all these restaurants who frankly, during the pandemic have got hurt. Number one, and number two are complaining , um, vehemently about the delivery fees that they've gotta charge. We've talked about that before. So I applaud them for this. Uh, they're gonna launch in 300 locations and by the end of 2022, they're estimating that they'll have over a thousand , uh, locations , uh, throughout the us . And it's a great chance for all of us, not only to be able to applaud , uh, those people on TikTok who have made great recipes, but also a way to get them some money. So all the money is gonna be split between the person on TikTok who developed a recipe, obviously TikTok corporate entity , uh , VDC, as well as the, as the restaurants themselves. So I think is a really cool idea.

Sally:

Yes, I do too. And virtual dining concepts is the same company that , uh, brought Mr. Beast burgers to us. I don't know if you've heard of that at Phil , but Mr. Beast is a big YouTuber and I have a 10 year old son that , uh , used to follow him so much. I think he's moved on now, but his birthday last year, last January, he wanted Mr. Beast burgers . And so we had to actually, we found a location , um, in Franklin, Tennessee, which is outside of now Nashville . Um, they didn't deliver as far into Nashville, you know , to come to our house. So we drove out to Franklin and we sat in the parking lot and had them deliver it to us in the parking lot for his birthday. <laugh>

Phil:

And, and how were the burgers?

Sally:

They were excellent. It was great . You know , it was , it was inside of , I believe an Italian rest . So you , you , there was no Mr . B sign or any , it was very difficult for us to actually find the location actually, but, but it was within another restaurant that had been around for a minute.

Phil:

Very cool. What else is going on?

Sally:

Speaking of gaming , uh , we need to talk about lives streaming ads. Now , uh , particularly in the last year, kids have been home, they've been on their computers doing virtual school and probably spending a lot more time gaming, which is so huge among, among youth right now. But what's happening is that these companies that , uh, sell alcohol energy, drinks, soda, junk foods, they have really upped their presence on these sites where , um, like for example, Twitch, who has, I think 30 million users, a quarter of those users are kids 13 to 17. Wow.

Phil:

Yeah, it, it really is a very serious problem. When I, when I look at this , uh , Kate Edwards, who's a post doctoral scholar of nutritional sciences. Um, I took a look at this and found, and I'm gonna quote her. This type of marketing can normalize high fat , high, sugar, and high sodium foods at a time in young viewers' lives when they're developing eating habits that are gonna follow of them into adulthood. Um, she goes on to say that we saw an increase, for example, in alcohol branding, which could normalize the idea that alcohol consumption needs to be a regular thing in a viewership that is still underage. So this is really dangerous territory if you would , uh , for us to be going into.

Sally:

Yeah, I think so, too. And , um, and I could say from, you know, being the mom of a 10 year old , who does a lot of gaming that , um, one thing that has come up that we've heard from him a lot lately is , um , a request for energy drinks. And, you know, I have no problem with energy drinks. My husband loves them, but for children, it's, it's a different situation. And I don't really want my son to drink energy drinks. Yeah.

Phil:

And , and also just, you know, a word to the wise for those people who are, you know, consuming energy drinks, read the ingredients and look at the amount of caffeine that are in them , uh, because they vary some are lower levels than caffeine than others. So you wanna be smart about it before you pick which energy drink to have mm-hmm <affirmative> so , um, I'm , I'm fascinated by a multilevel marketing scheme , um , all about magic dirt, what's magic dirt. And why should we care?

Sally:

This is an incredible story. Phil, would you , would you buy a jar of dirt for $110? <laugh>

Phil:

I wouldn't buy a, a jar of dirt for 50 cents.

Sally:

Yes . Well , uh ,

Phil:

Go outside and I dig myself some dirt <laugh> .

Sally:

Well, the creator of this product actually has been quoted saying in , uh, in the case of him teaching other people how to sell, he has been quoted saying, I can teach you to sell anything. I sell mud. So, so what's how up here is this , um, this company out of Canada has been selling this product , uh, that is basically dirt that comes from a pet bog in Ontario. Um, apparently they're saying that this is an , is ancient organic matter and has some sort of healing properties to it. A lot of people, you know, interested in , um, you know, fringe health , uh , products have been drinking it, putting it on their skin , um, putting it in their baby's bath, I've even read about snorting it. Um, so, so what's happened is there are a lot of very, very big wild health claims being made about this product for everything from it, cures COVID to cancer. And so it's created a lot of controversy online

Phil:

And, and the bottom line with any of these products. And we see them every couple years, or probably these days, every couple months. I , I mean, these people are making a fortune, they're able to , um, create this , um , scheme if you would. That gets a lot of people , uh , ripped off. I , I mean, the reality is that that dirt is , um, you know, centuries old. Um, it does have into it . We know that from being able to grow plants and, and different crops and so on, but to consume it, to snort it, to do everything that they want. Um, I'm not sure I go along with that. And, and again, you know, I think that the most interesting thing is they were at a business. They got pulled because there , there were enough people who complained about it. But in the meantime, there are a lot of people who send in their 110 bucks to get a baggy full of dirt. They've not gotten their money back. So there's millions of dollars , uh , that this founder absconded with. Uh , so before you , um, you know, look in the back of that comic book and, and find an ad for, what's gonna be the miracle cure. There is no miracle cure <laugh> so you and I are both Aldi shoppers, right?

Sally:

I , I have to admit, I have never shopped at an Aldi before, and I have one not too far from me. And after the, what I've just recently read about them. I'm very curious,

Phil:

Shame on you, shame, shame , shame, which is gonna lead us to talk about the aisle of shame at Aldi. Now what the aisle of shame is, is basically that center part of the store, where it rotates about every week, and there's a different theme. It could be back to school. It could be Halloween about 50% of the products that are in there are food related , 50% are not their general merchandise. It could be a lawn chair . It could be a , uh , plastic pumpkin. It could be whatever you want it to be. And what's happened now is there's this huge following, almost like the Wegmans following of shoppers. So the way they talk about it on , um , on Facebook, and there's a lot of Facebook groups about the aisle of shame , uh , is they use call , call like a Crow would say, that's how they identify each other. And they actually walk in the store and say, call , call , uh , probably a little bit louder than I'm doing it. And , um , they , they're saying that it's about the joy of discovery. We've heard that a lot when people go into to dollar stores , um, as well as having a bargain, something that's unusual. And if you look at the, is of shame, Facebook groups, they post hundreds of times a day and they share a lot more than just recipes reviews, Insta Instacart, Instacart ins, am , uh , pictures , um , about what those products are. Um, and what's interesting to me is the person who started this Facebook page for Ile of shame. Her name is Stephanie Fleming, and she created, she lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. She started it in 2019 and , uh , she really felt that the phrase is of shame captures the nature of the aisle without referring directly to Aldi. So, you know, for me, when I look at this Aldi really has something really cool going on similar to, to what we see at Wegmans, obviously a different kind of consumer. Uh, but I think that this is so cool. And , um, and, and there's also somebody else. Uh , her name is Mary MCOP and what she started in March, 2020 is gifting a Aldi bouquet to a person at the end of her shopping trip. It was picked up by Ray go. Who's an eight year old with a rare auto Imus in auto immune disorder that requires weekly chemotherapy infusions and what he does, and this is so cool. And he does it with his mom at the end of every appointment that he has on Friday. He gives as many as 15 bouquets , um , every Friday to strangers and with a card that says, I like to hand out flowers after my doctor appointments to see people smile. Wow.

Sally:

I love that. That is, that is so sweet and wonderful and , uh , spreading kindness is, is wonderful. I also like this aisle of shame because I think it is a great opportunity for new products to get tested and where they can tell if they, you know, if they can put this in the store regularly on the other aisles and that people are gonna buy it. What I've loved love Aldi to do is give an opportunity for some of these smaller startups now that have all these great new products coming out, the aisle of shame would be a great place for them to get to try their products out. Yeah.

Phil:

And , uh , absolutely. And, and again, what Aldi's probably gonna do is take that product, take salad , frozen lasagna, make with whole grains and healthy cheese. Um , and then if it sells in the aisle of shame, they're gonna come to you and they're gonna say, Hey, I want this product under the Aldi brand. Um, and then, you know, you buy that yacht as a result. So our next store is above my pay grade. <laugh> let , let me start off there. Um, as, as probably everybody knows, we were one of the, for runners on second life to create , um , that whole second life experience , uh , with Phil's supermarket. Uh , we all know what happened with second life , but now , uh , you know, certainly because of Facebook changing their name to meta , lot more technology going on, we're seeing , uh , you know, the food metaverse , if you will. And , uh , it's called one rare, what is this all about?

Sally:

Well, I'm with you, Phil. It is, it is very hard for me to understand NFTs and, and , uh, crypto cryptocurrencies and all of these, these new ideas. Um, but, but basically it is very much like second life. It sounds like to me in this food metaverse , um , people , uh , get to experiment with agriculture and selling ingredients and creating dishes from those ingredients, which they use NFTs in , in to trade in this , um, in this situation. Now, the difference between NFTs and cryptocurrencies is that , um, they are unique. Each one is unique in their value. And whereas, you know, we know that Bitcoin one Bitcoin that they all equal the same. So it's a very interesting concept. And , um, sounds like an opportunity. Um , if we are looking into the future and how much we have a society embraced the digital world, an opportunity for chefs, re restaurants and people in the food industry to get involved in this and , um, and promote their products.

Phil:

However, having read this, something that I had no idea about was the impact on the environment. So NFTs are counterproductive. Their production processes leave behind a large environmental footprint. Didn't understand that the technological process used to create an NFT , um, which is called mining by the way, uses an enormous amount of energy that in turn amids CO2 gases into our atmosphere, it's estimated that NFTs emit 163,486 kilograms of CO2 gas, which is the equivalent, get this to a EU residence , energy consumption, one, one NFT energy consumption for 77 years , or flying a plane for one and a half thousand , uh , one 1500 , um, hours. Wow. I mean, I, I had no idea that the whole NFT thing had this huge environmental impact to it.

Sally:

Yes . Uh , that is very hard for me to wrap my mind around as well, because it's hard to think of , uh , technology as, you know, being counterproductive that way, as far as how we are moving forward with protecting the environment. Um, I guess they store these NFTs , um, with blockchain technology. And I, I think that there are some efforts being made to figure out, you know, how can we make this environmentally friendly, but, but just like you, I am shocked to read that.

Phil:

Yeah, me too. Okay. So we got a good wrap up , uh , for our last episode of the year, and now we're gonna move to the leper report today on the leper report, we take a look at latest brand spark , most trusted awards, which highlights the most trusted grocery stores as voted by over 3,200 us shoppers. They actually survey 22 attributes that drive what they call trust the dominant grocery in the study, get this Walmart taking 15, number one rankings and proving their promise of everyday low prices. And one stop shopping convenience that continues to resonate with shoppers yet, according to bras , spark , and many other groceries have proven that they can compete with the leader and have secured greater trust with their shoppers in specific areas. HEB achieved number one ranking for easy checkout experience and enjoyable in-store experience. Think they should have gotten a lot more along with the top three rankings on eight important attributes. These strengths support HEBs leading level of trust and loyalty among their own shoppers. Another notable grocery is Aldi , which was ranked number one, nationally as the most trusted for discount grocery and most trusted small format grocery store. Again, I think they should get a lot more number ones, shoppers are seeking affordable options and uncomplicated trips when they get great value. And Aldi delivers on this bra spark says now the one grocery that ranked number one regionally as the most trusted besides Walmart was ShopRite in the Northeast. Well, we took a look by category and here's some of the highlight it's Walmart. Number one on having the most up to date and modern stores. Seriously, no offense Walmart, but not sure you would even make my top 10 in that category. Walmart also ranked number one for having the best service friendly staff and ranked number one for fresh produce ahead of HEB . Who's number two, Hannaford number three, HV number four, and Kroger number five fresh produce at Walmart. I'm wondering if the Walmart shopper knows what fresh produce really looks and tastes like. Now there's no question that a whole foods came in. Number one on natural and nor foods and trader Joe's came in at number two, but Kroger, who's done a fabulous job in this category. Isn't even listed in the top five HEB ranks. Number one on having an easy checkout experience, as we said, and shoppers having an enjoyable in-store experience. I agree with that, but HEB is a lot more than just that they do a phenomenal job in their stores and their customer service and their assortment. Well, whole foods ranking is number one for health prepared foods is obvious, but Amazon fresh ranked number two, the problem I have with most surveys like this, including consumer reports, biannual best soup market ratings has to do with the shoppers, the sample size, and the reality that grocery is a regional business. They're not national. And these kinds of comparisons and rankings just are not accurate. Sure. They serve up folks like Walmart with good fodder for their PR and promotional campaigns, but that's about it. And as a footnote Wegmans who typically tops most consumers lists for the ultimate shopping experience appears only three times as number four for household products. Number four for loyalty program rewards and number two for international food products, Hey, go to a Wegmans. You're gonna rank them as number one. This week's new product review is on tuna . A plant-based alternative to can tuna. Now this variety is lemon pepper flavor, and it's a great recipe it's made from textured, soy protein. So oil, sugar, lemon juice, and spices. It's a terrific choice for those who prefer plant-based foods. It tops the scales with a score of 92, 1 can just 30 calories, three and a half grams of fat three and of milligrams of sodium, which frankly I wish was lower 11 carbs, including three grams of added sugars and 13 grams of protein. Now, I don't want you to expect the taste or the texture to be the same as can tuna judge it on its own as a brand new category. And it will satisfy, I know the die hards, like what I'll say next, but I'm gonna try it as half tuna and half to no next time, which I think will be sensational retails for 2 49 for a five ounce can on the modern shopper webcast. I had the opportunity to discuss with Allison Delaney, the nutrition partners program lead at stop and the opportunities and hurdles that soup market retailers are facing. Here's just a quick clip from that discussion. I urge you to take a listen to the entire episode as Allison is one of those retail leaders that sees the future and can help lead us all there. Check it out@spoon.guru. Um, what keeps you up at night about the grocery industry? What are you worried about? What are you concerned about? What are you excited about? Yeah,

Allison:

I think what keeps me up at night is people are figuring out how to do it faster, cheaper, simpler, easier. Um, I shop Amazon, right? Uh , you can press click and something is on my door in four to eight hours. That's what scares me. I think there's some old school mentality still with grocery and man , are we getting innovative? We are getting so innovative, but if we don't , um, think outside of the box and if we don't kind of go to the, what ifs, the what's, I , I worry that , you know, e-commerce giants will somehow slowly start to replace the traditional brick and mortar. And I think we have the opportunity to innovate . And I think that's what that's, what I would say keeps me up at night is the aspect of , um , eCommerce innovation with the , the big giants.

Phil:

And now it's time for the bullseye, for those who have resumed eating out in restaurants, whether it be inside or outside dining, I'm sure you've noticed a difference on the menu. Not only are the prices higher, but the higher food costs and staffing shortages are creating a shorter list of items. And often with fewer ingredients and side dishes, according to data central who analyzed over 4,800 menus across the United States in 2021, 60% of restaurants reducing their menu size, the most shortages were reported at fine dining restaurants with the number of items, get this declining by 23%, the consumer price index for food away from home, which includes purchases from restaurants actually rose 5.8% over the past. And that according to BLS is the largest 12 month increase since 1982 data essential found that restaurants are focused on reducing the amount of appetizers and desserts. The wall street journal reports that now some restaurants are placing more emphasis on preparing ingredients at ahead of time, such as fresh pasta that is then frozen in bulk. The sad news is that after we saw this increase in, in person dining sales earlier this year, the newly emerging COVID 19 variants are causing a slow down in restaurant reservations and business food service is a tricky business and time yet alone, trying to operate during a pandemic with very skittish patrons. According to the national restaurant association, we've seen over 110,000 restaurants, according to the national restaurant association, we've seen over 110,000 restaurants close since the beginning of the pandemic. And I fear that lots more will follow. There are millions of kitchen workers and waiters who are out of jobs. The lucky ones have been able to switch careers. The unlucky ones. They have to deal with irate customers who come to their restaurants, ready to fight over prices, missing menu wide , and yes, even wearing masks. If their city has mandated that protocol, the horror stories make the evening news. The pandemic is not over. And some pundits say that this will continue for months to come. Broadway has shuttered once again, major companies who plan to reopen their offices in have post spelled their back to work schedules. It's not a food service problem that we have to deal with. It's a national problem that demands that we all offer mutual respect and understanding to our fellow men and women. If we are to survive Merry Christmas, happy new year. And it's certainly the time that we offer each other, even more compassion than we normally do. So from Sally and I thank you for joining us these past couple months, we're gonna be back in 2022 with more of the leper report live. And Sally, give us our last word, Merry Christmas, happy holidays and happy new year to everyone so long. See you next year.