The Lempert Report LIVE

GMO Labels, Mental Health, Hy-Vee Security

January 06, 2022 Phil Lempert Season 2 Episode 16
The Lempert Report LIVE
GMO Labels, Mental Health, Hy-Vee Security
Show Notes Transcript

Hope you all had a great New Years and looking forward to a calmer, healthier 2022 for us all. On today’s episode we take a look at the 2022 diet trends, FDA’s response to GMO labels, Hy-Vee’s plan for in-store security, American’s mental health situation and CPG brands in the health & wellness space.

Phil:

Welcome to The Lempert Report LIVE. We all hope you had a great new year's and we're looking forward together to a calmer healthier 2022 for us all on today's episode, we take a look at the 2022 diet trends FDA's to GMO labels, Hy-Vee's plan for in-store security Americans, mental health situation, and CPG brands in the health and wellness space. Sally, what's going on.

Sally:

Hi Phil. After years of debating, how genetically modified foods should be be labeled, there is now a new label that companies will have to , uh , will have to use that. Um, if they're on this list of U S D a foods that are , uh , bio-engineered. So as of January 1st, they're gonna have to use this new label and shoppers are gonna start seeing this in , in the stores. It's it's a circular green label. Um, and they're calling, they're calling these ingredients bio-engineered and not genetically modified.

Phil:

This was done by a committee. I am positive of it. There's no question. When you take a look at , um, how misleading and, and I applaud the effort. There's no question that consumers wanna know. What's genetically modified what's bioengineered and so on, but there's so many exceptions to this and what really bugs me. So they can say , um , a statement that says contains a bioengineered food ingredient, or they could just put a QR code on the product, or they could put a phone number on their product that consumers can, can text to, you know, this doesn't solve the problem. Um, and the other thing that bothers me is there's other exceptions, small food companies who sell below two and a half dollars a year. They don't have to label it food, service, establishments, restaurants, food trucks, trains, planes, deli's , um, McDonald's burger king. They don't have to label it. Um, and you know, foods that are primarily and I'm ring from U S D a foods that are primarily meat pulled to your egg products. They don't have to have the disclosure on it. And, you know, the threshold that U S D a set is bioengineered ingredients of 5% or less. So you could still have a product that has 4.9% bioengineered material, but those don't have to be labeled as such. So I'm not sure that we're moving this conversation the way the consumer wants, or that the legislation was designed to. Um, and again, we just wind up with more confusion at the consumer level. And, and you mentioned the 13 categories or the 13 items that are bio-engineered. I think it's important for us to, to list those , uh, for people as well, because people think that all kinds of foods can be bioengineered or GMO. They can't be. So what are the foods ?

Sally:

So on the list , uh , is alfalfa , um,

Phil:

Apples. One of my main stage in my diet <laugh>

Sally:

Yeah . Alfalfa apples, but a certain variety. The, a Arctic , uh , yeah ,

Phil:

The ones that don't apple . Yeah . Yes. Mm-hmm,

Sally:

<affirmative> canola corn cotton. Um, are we eating cotton? <laugh> eggplant, hopefully not papayas . And then again, some of these, like the egg plants and papayas and pineapples are just certain varieties and then potatoes and the Aqua advantage salmon , uh , soybean and sugar beets .

Phil:

So we, we really need, I think that it's , um , an interesting first step for the government. I think it's a misstep , uh , because again, until we can make it simple for people, until it can be, you know, clear , um , we're not gonna help people make good decisions. What else do we got

Sally:

According to a website called blind? I don't know if you've heard of this website, Phil, but this is a , an anonymous website that , uh, people can go on. It has millions of users on this platform and they go in and they talk about their jobs , um, things that are going on at work. And, and apparently , uh , recently there was a big controversy on there about , uh , door dash , um, with their new initiative where they want to require everyone that works there, including executives, the white collar employees. They want them to be a part of this we dash program that will require them to spend a little bit of time actually going out, delivering food. Now, this also includes two other, two other parts to the initiative they would experience , um , working customer service, and they would also experience working support for merchants.

Phil:

So I love this at idea. Um, I love this idea and, and I think it's really important for, I don't care what level you're at, but to be able to do things , um , that really reinforce what your business is all about. Um, as you know, and I think, you know, a lot of our viewers know I've pre pandemic. You know, I was visiting, you know, 10 to 15 supermarkets a week walking up and down the aisles, seeing what's going on. Now, it's probably five , uh, supermarkets during the pandemic. Um , also, you know, one of my mentors on this was really Morty Wolfson , who was one of the ShopRight owners, ShopRight of Lincoln park, New Jersey , um, his son, Larry, you know, now runs it, but what Mory would do. And again, he owned this store, multimillionaire, highly successful retailer. His job he said, was to stand either by the door, as people came in or by the courtesy counter personally, and answer people's questions or show them where things were, or if he saw, you know, a piece of paper on the floor, he would pick it up. I don't think there's any excuse for that. And what's bothering me again about, this is how in today's world, you know, the average person doesn't see it. So on this website, here's some of the comments that people who work for do dash are saying , uh , D Dasher says mandatory. We dash starts from next year. I ant of, I didn't sign up for this. There was nothing in the letter or job description about this. Obviously he doesn't like it stock NEBA , uh , can't tell if it's serious or a troll, if serious, then what the expletive not acceptable in any way , uh , kryptonite empathy for your customers. Dashers and restaurants is a good thing. Um , pan three 19, what a fantastic push from leadership , um, uh, Ang Microsoft making a delivery might literally kill you. If you get carjacked and shot, I kind of wanna see this happen and see the family , Sue the company for like a billion dollars and win. Just so no company ever gets a stupid idea like this again. Um, last one , uh, from C L P C L four P interesting idea though, following the same line of thought. Number one, everybody at Amazon will have to work at a warehouse once a month. Number two, everybody at dating services will have to find a one nighter every month. Number three, every at Uber Lyft will have to taxi once a month for everybody at Airbnb will have to rent their living room once a month. So even though there's some criticism about this, I gotta tell you something, I applaud door dash . I think every company should do this. If you look at the soup market industry, if in fact , um , and, and ShopRight Wakefern has this program for their management program, what you've gotta do is you've gotta spend a period of time in store working on all the various departments before you can head to the office, put on a tie and be an executive. And frankly, I think it's the right thing to do.

Sally:

I think it's interesting that the point brought up about , uh, the job being dangerous, or also I saw in the comments about it would ruin my car. These are two issues that the company should be aware of so that we can make this job safer for people. Or what about offering , um, uh, you know, coupons to get maintenance on your car, to , um, help with those. These are, these are great things for the CEOs to be thinking about within their company.

Phil:

I, I agree with you and to talking about safety hve , uh , just announced Jeremy, gosh , uh , newly appointed president and COO he's been there for decades. Love Jeremy, very insightful. One of the most insightful retailers that we have in our industry today , um, announced last week that now hve because of every, anything that's going on with these , um, you know, these mobs that are running into stores, grabbing things and, and running out , um, this thi that's taking place is now putting real security guards, not rent to cops , uh , but either ex cops , um, you know, in their, I think this is a great move. They've come under some criticism from people, you know, saying it's , uh , you know, it's an invasion of their privacy. Hey, I want to be able to go into whether it's a hive or any other soup market and feel safe.

Sally:

Yes. And the , and what we're hearing is that there is this big problem of retail theft, and that it's costing an average on average 700,000 per 1 billion in sales. That's according to the national retail foundation industry group. So it does seem like there is a problem with theft and , um, and some other supermarkets are doing, are doing other things to stop that like Safeway supermarket in San Francisco is adding automatic gate . So you can't just quickly flee the store.

Phil:

That's really cool. I didn't know that , um , what happens if you get caught in that gate? <laugh> what , what , what brings, what brings to mind when I was a kid in the New York city subways, you know, they had that gate, that turn style thing, and I remember getting caught in it. So, you know, I wasn't , I wasn't trying to jump and get a free subway ride, but okay . What else do we got as it relates to home cooks and food startups?

Sally:

There is a great side called chef that's S H E f.com that is helping home chefs get their businesses off the ground. Now it's a little bit different from your regular food delivery. Um, we're talking about people that are working from their homes. There have been a lot new bills introduced in several states. I know California in particular has , um, has seen this happen where, where there are less regulations for people, or it's easier for people to meet the standards, to cook foods at home and sell them. So the way the work the website works is you go on the website and you order in advance a , a couple of days in advance to get these meals delivered, and they are reheat , uh , meals it's. And what's really interesting to me is that they're really making a push to help immigrants and refugees make an income. So these are big users of this platform.

Phil:

So what's interesting to me , um, when I looked at this there's one chef , uh , who's been there for a while that , uh, is in the bay area. I think the cheese making , uh, um , I have it here somewhere a couple hundred thousand dollars a day. No, I'm sorry, 2000, $2,000 a day. Um , in doing this and the average chef that's doing it is making about a hundred grand a year from it. Um , they've already served over one and a half million meals, and they've got a waiting list of chefs who want to be part of this program. The other thing that , and they're rolling out to 10 , um , new regions throughout the us . What I like about the company, two things. Number one, is they're helping these chefs , um, understand the business, the marketing, the food safety aspect. And unlike some of the other delivery services, they're taking a flat 15%. It's none of these, you know, multi-tiered things , um , where the companies make all the money and the chefs and the restaurants. Don't so good for them. I like this. Yes.

Sally:

I love this too. And they're also offering $3,500 to help with at the cost of cooking supplies and food safety training, and marketing, which is really cool. That's

Phil:

Great. That's great. So, you know, the , the big issue now in our first week in January are diets. People wanna lose weight. They want to get in shape. You know, it's usually number one or number two on everybody's new year's resolution list for those people who still do new year's resolution lists. I stopped doing that a long time ago since I can't keep doing it. <laugh> uh , but you know, what's going on for 2022 dieting?

Sally:

Well , uh, us news and world reports has , um, has tell , told I us what the best and worst diets are of 2021, according to experts.

Phil:

And tell me , tell me, start off with the worst ones I wanna hear . <laugh>

Sally:

The worst ranking diets are the ones that seem really difficult to sustain. And one of those is really popular and really hot is the ketogenic diet, which we have seen a huge trend in , um, also on the list , uh , raw, raw food, vegan diets. Um, and we also saw on the list, there was one more, I was gonna , uh , paleo diet, whole 30 is another one Atkins. These diets might work , um, in the short term to lose weight fast. Uh, maybe you get more energy, but they're very difficult to sustain because they're so restrictive in what you can eat.

Phil:

Yeah . So what's the best one. Well,

Sally:

For the third year in a row, the Mediterranean diet is number one. And I gotta tell you for, for years and years that I've been working with you, and we've been looking at research on diets, the Mediterranean diet worldwide has always ranked in the top , um, as a sustainable diet , um , an all around healthy diet. Uh, we also saw , um, really good news for the dash diet, which is very similar to the Mediterranean diet. It is specifically designed for people with hypertension. So , um, that's another thing about these diets Mediterranean dash. They, don't just, they're not just weight management diets, they're diets that , uh , help with diabetes and heart health hypertension, the , it , it , those conditions that we are seeing a lot more. And then the third one that I thought was cool on here was the flexitarian diet , um, which with the big plant-based movement, it's not surprising to see this diet , uh , to become more popular because some people don't wanna go complete vegetarian or vegan. They still wanna have a little bit of meat in their diet, but they want to eat , uh , better for the planet and better for themselves.

Phil:

So it's all about balance. If , if I look at Mediterranean, I look at dash , um, I mean, these diets are balanced. Uh flexitarian versus the extremes, as you talked about with Atkins or, or keto and so on. Um, it reminds me of, I wanna say , um, in the 18 hundreds, William Banting , um, I was a very prosperous person in England. He gained a lot of weight , um, at an early age, in his early thirties, he lost his hearing. He couldn't walk all that stuff. He went to a diet doctor. Uh , he tried just about everything, starvation diets , uh, different, you know, focused , uh , fruit diets and so on. And finally this doctor helped him with what we now would call a low fat diet or a Mediterranean diet. Uh, his hearing came back, his eyesight improved. He lost, I think it was like a hundred pounds. And he wrote , um, something called the letter on CorpU , uh , to people. The first two editions were actually given out free. Then he teamed up and, you know, got a publisher and they started selling them , uh, for , for some money. But it , it really stands through to today as the way to go. And there's probably two things of note that I found. Um, one is Jeffrey's , um, the investment firm just put a report out on fitness and wellness in the us . And I was surprised. I was surprised at the results of weight Watchers, and they looked at different companies , um , public companies and, and what they're doing, and what they found is that weight Watchers, even in December, had a loss of Facebook followers for the eighth straight month. Um, the Instagram net new followers were down a third. Um , and, and when we look at all the charts that Jeff has put up there for new follower growth , um , on weight Watchers and activity levels , um , they're all going behind levels. They're not increasing. And I think of weight Watchers as a really good holistic approach to wellness, to, to food consumption. So that was very surprising to me. And the other thing that was shocking to me comes from good housekeeping magazine. And what good housekeeping did is they had a survey of 4,250 readers about , uh , body image and , uh , mostly American women , uh, weight and dieting. And what they found is only 6% of respondents agree that they feel generally happy with their bodies. Only 6%, 17% said they achieve years off their lives, shorten their lifespan in exchange for what they consider their ideal body. 14% would trade one to five years of their life for an ideal body. I'm not sure I'm willing to give a day of my life yet alone. One to five years, 3% would trade more than five years off their life. 11% shocking as well to make of respondent said they would give up sex in exchange for their ideal body. And , um , 13% would give up the chance to travel and see the world if they could have their ideal body. That's our problem. That is our problem, right there. 11% willing to give up sex to have a by or die five years earlier. What's going on here?

Sally:

<laugh> that is shocking, Phil. And there's a , there's another movement that I think can connect to these, these statistics you're giving us right now that is becoming really popular, which is that is mindfulness and eating better for our mental wellbeing. There's an app that , uh, we're all familiar with. I think , uh , Noom , which now has 45 million users on their platform. It is it's growing. Um, it's, it's a very interesting , uh , app to me because you, you do have to pay a pretty hefty pres or not prescription subscription for it, subscription for it. Um, but you're not getting any products from them as in food sent to you, like with, you know, one of , some of these commercial diets, like , uh , weight Watchers, Jenny Craig , you know, some of these, you, you can, you can order their, their food. Um, so it's just making suggestions and giving you a plan, but it's also incorporating this connection to your mental wellbeing, mindfulness , uh , meditation, these types of these types of activities that can help us eat better.

Phil:

Yeah. I mean, it's all up here . It's not in here. It's, you know, how we choose our foods, what emotional stress might we have that makes us eat more , um , you know, to, to keep busy, to keep our mind off of all the stresses that we're dealing with, especially now. Um, and in fact , uh , today on the lip report, we're gonna take a look at the latest report from the American psychological association let's get started. So, as I said, the American psychological association, which no surprise has shared the fact that COVID 19 pandemic has introduced new stressors to nearly every domain of life. They write that as the world heads into the third year of the pandemic, these stressors have become persistent and indefinite heightening everyone's risk of burnout. According to the world health organization, burnout is a syndrome relating from workplace stress that has not been six successfully managed is characterized by three dimensions. The feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion increased mental distance from one's job or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job and reduced professional efficacy. What does this mean for the food world? Everything from the farm to those who are in retail, it indicates even more job changes and an increased pressure on retailers to retain workers. And that means thinking about the people in our industry in many different ways, and it goes well beyond pay raises or increased benefits. A real understanding what's important to each person is what we need. According to APAs, 2021 work and wellbeing survey of over 1500 adult workers. 79% of employees had experienced work related stress in the month before the survey, nearly three and five report negative imp packs of work related stress, including the lack of interest, motivation, or energy and lack of effort at work, meantime 36% report cognitive wear 32% report, emotional exhaustion and an astounding 44% report physical fatigue. That's a 38% increase since 2019 because these pandemic related stressors likely won't stop. Anytime soon, APA rights stress reducing measures would be top of mind for employers and legislative alike as demands increase organizations need to focus on maintaining balance, taking things off the plate. When they add something new, the APA 2021 work and wellbeing survey found that 71% of workers feel stressed out or tense during the Workday nearly, and five employees have experienced negative impacts of work related stress during the past month, including as I said before, a lack of interest, motivation or energy difficult and focusing, and a lack of effort at work. And the bottom line is that we need to fix this. We need to fix it. Asked if in fact we're gonna have a workforce, whether it's in CPG plants or whether it's frontline retailers and the Hispanic and black adults are now more likely than white adults to say that they intend to seek employment outside of their organization during 20 22 58 and 57% versus 37%. All of these data points lead us to the important conclusion that many food retailers are already addressing and focused on. How do we create this more enriching, valued, and satisfying career path for our frontline workers who, although are our industry has said that we cherish, that we make them, you know, bigger than life. They still don't feel love. Now, there are exceptions. Wegmans is a stellar example, but there are many others, especially family own regional retailers, and it's time for us to learn from them, how they treat those employees. Now it's time for the bullseye. Robert Masco, a senior analyst and investment bank credit suite was quoted in Anka saying that the biggest surprise this year is that the consumption of package foods remained elevated despite mobility, which her and food service establishments regaining customers. The question that I have is whether this consumption behavior is due to the need of so many of us to de-stres during the pandemic, eat comfort foods and use this time to indulge more than ever, or simply that these legacy brands had strong enough supply chain to retain or increase their presence on store shells, or to promote their product through eCommerce. Is it about availability or desire? According to N P D group customer transactions at major restaurant chains were flat compared to the same time last year, but down 12% compared to 2019 , what effect does that have on eating at home? Is it easier or more fulfilling to reach for that pop tar to start the day? It social reports that more than half of all us adults say that they're cooking more now compared to prior to the pandemic, we've seen all kinds of reports about that. And when we see these reports of cooking at home, let's not fool ourselves. It's an all encompassing term that covers everything from scratch, cooking to heat , a meal on the microwave. And yes, even pushing down that lever on the toaster top line is that we're seeing lots of marketing activity from some of our best known brands. Campbell's goldfish partnered with McCormick and companies . Frank's red, hot to release a hot sauce, flavored cracker TikTok , put goldfish on first ever culture driver for its hashtag go for the handful challenge, which featured dancer and choreographer Taylor Pierce and Dallas Maverick center, Boban Maric. I know I mispronounce that who can fit 301 goldfish crackers in the Palm of his hand. Wow. A great accomplishment. The campaign supported by ads on other channels garnered more than 10 billion views in just three days not to be outdone. Coca-Cola introduced its first us TikTok challenge with help from Grammy nominated artist , Kali from December 19th through 21st, honey bunches of Oreos ran a TikTok challenge under the hashtag make a bunch happen. And it was designed to encourage users to bring some joy into the world, through volunteering, donating, or surprising a friend, good effort, Mondelez's Oreo and sour patch. Kids surpassed 1 million followers on TikTok by far the biggest snack brands on TikTok. And our hope is that 2022 will bring us innovation in the products themselves that go well beyond the marketing hype and drawing on metrics of followers that may in the long term , be frankly meaningless the reformulations of better ingredients, better health and nutritional profiles are the pathways to building consumer confidence and sales in the long term , especially as our shoppers are faced with higher prices and product shortages. Let's focus on the long term , shall we? So Sally, that's it for this week. Um , and again, inviting all of our folks to join us right here. Again next week, same time, same place Thursday at 10:00 AM. Pacific 1:00 PM Eastern on LinkedIn, live on Facebook live. And if you miss this episode, don't worry. It's on supermarket guru.com in our archives. Thanks for joining us. And don't forget to sign up for our newsletter, our weekly supermarket guru newsletter, right on supermarket guru.com.