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Kennedy: Food industry challenged by rapid changes

first_imgIndeed, investment bank UBS in June released an 82-page report, “Is the Kitchen Dead?”, that suggested the food-delivery market will grow tenfold by 2030 as meals shift away from being home-cooked with supermarket ingredients to being ordered online and delivered from restaurants or central kitchens.While the idea may seem far-fetched today, UBS noted that factory-produced clothing was, too, in the age of home sewing. “Some of the same characteristics are at play [now] in the kitchen — we could be at the first stage of industrializing meal production and delivery,” according to the report.Bachar noted the future impact of delivery.“There is justified expert concern — including from us — around the impact that food delivery will have on food producers,” Bachar said. “It’s accelerating; it’s not going away. And it’s not 2030 yet, but, boy, there’s a big increase of it right around the corner.”Marlene Kennedy is a freelance columnist.Opinions expressed in her column are her own and not necessarily the newspaper’s.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesNiskayuna Co-op reports upswing in revenue and profitSt. Mary’s Healthcare starts expansion that will put coordinate care under one roofEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motorists Categories: Business, OpinionDebra Bachar dislikes the word “disruption,” seeing it as overused in business.She prefers “acceleration” to describe change that is ever-faster-moving, driven by consumer social and cultural shifts, relentless technology innovation, and quicker adoption of what’s new. As a result, “The operating environment is producing 20 years of progress in under two years,” says Bachar, principal of Blueberry Business Group in Rockford, Ill., an adviser to the food industry.Bachar, a featured speaker in a webinar offered by the trade group The Food Institute, said the food industry was traditionally coaxed along by investors happy with short-term focus and “linear thinking.”With blinders on to change coming at them from all sides, food companies and supermarkets “kept producing more and more linear versions of themselves in an environment changing faster than anyone expected.”But that led only to firms managing diminishing returns because they were “unprepared for the consequences of the acceleration,” she said.Bachar pointed to changes in consumer habits that have helped align food and transportation, allowing companies like Instacart, DoorDash and Uber Eats to raise millions of dollars to underwrite food-delivery services that propelled the companies to valuations in the billions of dollars.Meantime, advances in voice technology — think Alexa and Siri — are expected to double the number of smart speakers installed globally to 225 million units in two years, according to a slide Bachar presented. For pizza chain Domino’s, mobile voice-ordering already represents almost half of sales.“So the question is … how does this change and impact your strategy and place in the future of the industry?” she asked the webinar participants. Bachar cautioned that if consumers “are being intercepted” before food manufacturers and retailers can reach them, it can have “either a cascading negative or positive effect on what we’re doing in our broader market strategy.”last_img read more

Coronavirus deaths in Russia surpass 5,000

first_imgNew infections have been steadily dropping since mid-May when officials were reporting daily increases of around 11,000 cases.Officials say Russia’s high virus count is the result of mass testing and that a steady decline in new infections and its low fatality numbers mean the country can begin to return to normal.Yet critics have cast doubt on the numbers, accusing the authorities of under-reporting deaths and threatening a new wave of infections by lifting restrictions. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday announced that a postponed nationwide vote on constitutional reforms that could extend his hold over power will go ahead on July 1. Coronavirus deaths in Russia passed the 5,000 mark on Tuesday as authorities eased lockdown measures and prepared to announce steps to kickstart the economy.Health officials registered 182 new fatalities in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 5,037.The government tally also reported 8,863 new infections for a total of 423,741, the third-highest number after the United States and Brazil. The authorities have also rescheduled Russia’s massive May 9 Victory Day military parade for June 24.Moscow, the epicenter of Russia’s pandemic with around half of the country’s total cases, on Monday eased a nine-week lockdown allowing shops to reopen and residents to leave their homes for short walks.Putin was scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin on Tuesday to discuss proposals to restart an economy badly hit by lockdown measures and a sharp fall in oil prices.center_img Topics :last_img read more

Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis sharpens focus on Pence, Harris in VP debate

first_img“We know that Vice President Pence is a formidable debater, and that tonight is a challenge,” said Democratic US Senator Cory Booker, a Harris ally.Aides to Harris said that Pence’s style would be more polished than Trump’s more aggressive, off-the-cuff manner, but that his message would be the same.Biden leads Trump in national opinion polls and has an advantage of 12 percentage points in the latest Reuters/Ipsos survey of likely voters. Polls show the race to be closer in some of the election battleground states that could determine the winner, although a Reuters/Ipsos poll on Wednesday showed Biden leading Trump in pivotal Florida.Harris, who will be on the biggest stage of her political career, is a US senator from California picked by Biden in August as his running mate. The daughter of immigrants – her father from Jamaica and her mother from India – Harris is the first Black woman nominated by a major party for vice president as well as the first person of Asian descent.Pence, a former conservative radio host who debated then-Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine in 2016, is a former US congressman and Indiana governor who has steadfastly defended Trump during his tumultuous presidency.A Biden campaign official said Harris was prepared for Pence to attack her as too liberal, echoing Trump’s assertion that the moderate Biden would advance a “radical left-wing” agenda if elected president, a charge Biden disputes.The two campaigns have squabbled over installing barriers on stage between Pence and Harris to guard against coronavirus infection. On Wednesday, television images of the debate stage showed two plexiglass barriers, one adjoining each of their desks. Pence and Harris will be placed more than 12 feet (3.6 meters) apart on stage.Harris had requested plexiglass shielding. Pence spokeswoman Katie Miller on Monday mocked Harris, saying if she “wants to use a fortress around herself, have at it.” An aide to the vice president on Wednesday said Pence had agreed to the barriers to facilitate the debate.Both Pence and Harris tested negative for the coronavirus on Tuesday. US government guidelines call for anyone exposed to a person with COVID-19 to quarantine for 14 days regardless of test results.Topics : President Donald Trump’s battle with COVID-19, his age and the age of his Democratic challenger Joe Biden figure prominently in Wednesday’s debate between Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris.Pence, 61, and Harris, 55, were due to take the University of Utah stage in Salt Lake City, separated by plastic barriers for a 90-minute debate, a reminder of how the COVID-19 pandemic has influenced the race for the Nov. 3 election.Now 77, Biden would be 78 upon taking office in January, which would make him the oldest US president in history. The Republican Trump is 74, making his COVID-19 all the more dangerous considering his age and underlying health issues. Trump already is the oldest president to seek re-election. Trump announced on Friday that he had tested positive and was hospitalized for three nights and given treatments that continued with his return on Monday to a White House where the disease has spread. His doctor said on Wednesday that Trump had no COVID-19 symptoms for 24 hours.Either of the vice presidential candidates would be a heartbeat away from assuming the presidency, depending on the election’s outcome. How they handle themselves during the debate may be scrutinized even more closely than usual given Trump’s health and the age of both presidential candidates.The Pence-Harris debate is unlikely to match the chaos of the first debate last week between Trump and Biden, when Trump repeatedly interrupted Biden and the two traded insults. Pence, more even-tempered than Trump, and Harris, a former prosecutor known for sharp questioning during Senate hearings, are seen as polished communicators.Hours before the debate, the Harris camp sought to ramp up expectations for Pence’s performance.last_img read more

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