Food News and Views: Mid-November 2021 Edition

Nov. 16, 2021

Sometimes the news just comes so thick and fast that all you can do is sit back and marvel. And make snarky comments, of course.

Sometimes the news just comes so thick and fast that all you can do is sit back and marvel. And make snarky comments, of course.

PepsiCo to Drop ‘Rise’ from Drink Name
This is a true David and Goliath story. PepsiCo was sued by Rise Brewing Co., a New York-based company that markets coffee-based beverages, over its use of the word “Rise” for its new “Mtn Dew Rise Energy Drink.” Rise Brewing got a preliminary injunction, and PepsiCo subsequently said it will just call its new drink “Mtn Dew Energy.”

I’d feel a little more sympathetic toward PepsiCo if they hadn’t been making a habit of this sort of thing. This is third time this year they’ve gotten into some kind of trade dress dispute over a new acquisition or brand extension. You’d think that the biggest food & beverage company in America could afford a better due-diligence department.

Tyson Sales Down, Profit Up
This is possible because of inflation. Sales were down because Tyson Foods suffered an downturn of 11% in overall production, mostly because of labor issues. But it was able to charge enough to make up the shortfall, because meat prices are skyrocketing: beef is up more than 30% since the beginning of the year, and pork is up 38%.

This situation may be pleasant, but it’s not sustainable. In fact, it’s a juggling act: Tyson and others have to raise prices to make up for their own soaring costs, for labor, materials and everything else. Their leeway in doing so is not infinite, especially with Tyson and its fellow Big Meat companies squarely in the crosshairs of federal antitrust authorities.

Oatly Group Fortunes Decline Since IPO
Oatly is in the same boat as Beyond Meat and other innovators in the alternative protein space. It’s not that people don’t want oat milk; it’s that Oatly is having trouble meeting demand, and there are plenty of nut milks and other dairy alternatives for consumers to turn to.

In other words, innovation is laudable, but it’s no longer enough by itself. As the alt-protein market matures, and big players like General Mills and Tyson get involved, the prize will go to the innovators who also make the best business decisions.

Grey Poupon Wine Now Exists
They’re calling it La Moutarde Vin, and for your approximately $30, you get what CNN describes as “full-bodied wine infused with Grey Poupon mustard seeds,” along with a jar of actual Grey Poupon.

I only use wine to cook with, never to drink. Now I think Kraft Heinz is just messing with my head.

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