Category Archives: Food

Can’t Cut It: The French Mustard Crisis in France

Why there is a shortage of Dijon mustard in France

First, find the seeds
The Economist – August 9, 2022

For the past few months, France has been gripped by the mystery of the Dijon mustard shortage.

The sharp pale-yellow condiment, a French household staple, has all but disappeared from the country’s supermarket shelves. When scarce deliveries arrive, some shops resort to rationing purchases to a single pot per person. On social media, amateur cooks swap ideas for an alternative ingredient to Dijon mustard in order to prepare vinaigrette, mayonnaise, or steak tartare, a French dish made of raw meat also seasoned with egg yolk and capers.

The sauce has a long history. In Dijon, the capital of Burgundy and home to the mustard that bears its name, the craft of the moutardier dates back to 1634. Yet even in this town, pots of the stuff are near-impossible to find.

The French consume a kilo of mustard per person each year. Much of it is the Dijon variety, a condiment that comes with a nose-tingling kick, not the milder and sweeter sauce slathered on hot dogs in Britain or America. Continue reading Can’t Cut It: The French Mustard Crisis in France

Getting Beyond, “Beyond Meat”

NOTE: By the accidents of love, family & history, there are four generations of my kinfolk now living near enough to crowd occasionally into our compact living room.

Here are three of the four generations, experiencing cultural transmission.

Such assemblies always prompt reflections, from the cosmic to, well, the comestible. And one recent recurring internal query has been: how many of the younger tier will reach adulthood still eating meat, in particular, beef?

I’m no vegetarian, but hardly ever buy beef. My eldest, not shown above, eats a lot less than formerly. No high principle here; cost and calories loom larger. As the youngest sisters mature, the price of beef seems likely to increase, a lot, especially as water, its main input, becomes scarcer and more precious. Burgers may become the rare gourmet indulgence.

So can technology deliver them acceptable, affordable substitutes? It’s trying, and I’ve given it a chance.

But . . . . There’s a bag of Beyond Meat “burgers” in my freezer, opened but languishing. In our micro-mini home field test, the verdict on them was a resounding: “Meh”: not awful, but not memorable or appealing.

As one analyst in the report below more ponderously put it: “Recruiting your next phase of consumers requires more innovation and better tasting products.” Took the words (except “better tasting”) right out of my keyboard, on a prolix day.

It seems Wall Street is also ready to pass on these patties; back to the lab, all ye in the white coats.


Reuters – Beyond Meat sales under threat as plant-based boom withers

Praveen Paramasivam — Aug 3 2022
(Reuters) – Beyond Meat Inc BYND.O is headed for an unappetizing second quarter as the plant-based food craze withers in the face of several weak product tests at restaurants and mediocre reviews.
Analysts have slashed forecasts for Beyond Meat’s sales on supply-chain concerns and waning demand that pulled down shares of the plant-based meat maker and peer Oatly Group AB OTLY.O from their lofty market debut levels.

“Part of the issue with the adoption of the category for new consumers is that you’re not going to change cultural tastes overnight,” Mizuho analyst John Baumgartner said. “Recruiting your next phase of consumers requires more innovation and better tasting products.”

Estimates for Beyond Meat’s second-quarter revenue have fallen by 10% over the last three months, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

CONTEXT
McDonald’s Corp MCD.N last week became the latest chain to not go through with an immediate broader launch of Beyond Meat products, after concluding its U.S. test of a burger made with the plant-based meat without confirming future plans.

Tests at Panda Express and Yum Brands Inc’s YUM.N KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell have also yet to lead to a permanent or U.S.-wide launch, while Dunkin, Hardee’s and A&W have discontinued products after launching, according to brokerage Piper Sandler.
Reviews for Beyond Meat’s plant-based jerky also indicate skepticism about the taste of the product, stoking concerns about the sustainability of its sales momentum, Piper Sandler analyst Michael Lavery wrote in a note on Friday.

The company has had to discount more to encourage inflation-hit consumers to pick up its products over those of competitors at grocers, leading analysts to say its expectation for average revenue growth of 27% for 2022 now appears steep.

FUNDAMENTALS
* Beyond Meat is expected to post a marginal increase in revenue for the second quarter, when it reports on Thursday, with loss per share widening to $1.18.

* Wall Street expects Beyond Meat to lose $4.48 per share for 2022, much bigger than the $2.88 it expected on April 27, when the company reported results for the first quarter.