Caught My Attention 020 (171008)

These days there is still a lot of WFM topics get my attention, mostly as how the future will be for the smaller brands trying to break into the natural market. Of course a bit of hot chile news and some technology gets my attention too…
There is a new world’s hottest chile, Pepper-X, by the same guy who cultivated the Carolina Reaper chile, Ed Currie. It seems that right now the pepper is exclusively (until they can ramp up enough production?) being grown for the folks at Hot Ones, the youtube show, for their own branded sauce called Last Dab.
(link to Tasting Table: The World’s (Newest) Hottest Pepper Is Over 3 Million Scoville Units)
Kind of in the way that it sort of makes sense that Amazon would mesh with WholeFoods, as I think about it, so would Tesla make sense to have its own C-Stores. It’d be the modern version of the old roadside gas & go mini marts. Stop to charge up your electric car and get a snack while waiting for the car to fill up.
(link to Forbes: At Its Supercharger Stations, Tesla May Want To Sell You Beef Jerky, Too)
There has been some news out about how WFM is bringing most of the decision making of what brands and products they will carry back to the HQ in Austin. This dive into the topic makes the point..

Relegating more of its purchasing to executives at its Austin, Texas headquarters means the retailer will likely shrink its product assortment and focus on larger, well-funded local brands. Emerging brands without access to significant capital could struggle to get on Whole Foods’ radar.

I was thinking about something similar when I was walking the aisles the other day. I saw Fat Water, by the BulletProof ppl. Slickly designed packaging and looking like big distribution already. Thought about how all the brands out there now, it’s the ones that have big marketing and distribution behind them that will actually make it. Every category is just so crowded now. How do you stand out. And fat beverages is a new category and already there are several products playing there. Need to be different, unique, have a message, and then still need a good quality product because it’s the returning purchases that are really what count. Once you get the product on a shelf, that’s when the work actually begins. And now how do you do that in WFM if you can’t demo and promote. It’s getting interesting for sure.
(link to Food Dive: Whole Foods to further centralize buying operations and bar brand reps from store)
With WFM possibly getting away from supporting the emerging smaller local brands, looks like maybe Kroger wants to do better at supporting Local efforts. I think this will only work if they reduce all the extra costs that vendors face to operate in their systems.
(link to Specialty Food Assn: Kroger Solicits Small, Local Business Partnerships)
I was surprised to hear about this, Starbucks is turning off their online sales. They are saying that the focus needs to be on the experiential destination. That the experience is a service that cannot be available online.
(link to NYTimes: Starbucks Closes Online Store to Focus on In-Person Experience)
(link to Forbes: Starbucks Shutters Online Store As It ‘Elevates’ Mobile Perks, Store Experiences)
Robots are slowing being able to have a more gentler-touch that a human would have. Here they are testing picking of strawberries.
(link to Fast Company: This Strawberry-Picking Robot Gently Picks The Ripest Berries With Its Robo-Hand)
Some details are coming out about how WFM will be working with (or not as it seems to be) with local brands that they had been known for doing well in the past. Further down in this article is some interesting info about regional/global, brokers, and demos – 365 stores with a $15 fee and no outside demo/merchandising.
(link to Project Nosh: Post Acquisition, Whole Foods Makes Changes)
Love cannot be an ingredient in food. This made the rounds in the mainstream media this week, a granola that had love as an ingredient and the FDA bringing the hammer down.

A human emotion can’t be an ingredient in baked goods.

One thing I also didn’t know, was that the FDA publishes the warning letters that they send out.
(link to Bloomberg: FDA Warns Bakery Company ‘Love’ Is Not an Ingredient in Granola)
(link to Nashoba Brook Bakery, LLC 9/22/17

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