Social media – friend or foe for the Food and Agribusiness industry?

Social media – Friend or foe for the Food and Agribusiness industry?Courtney Buerger Schmidt, Wells Fargo Food and Agribusiness Sector Analyst, Protein and Dairy
Lee Ann Pearce, Wells Fargo Food and Ag Sector Manager, Specialty Crops, Tree Nuts, Wineries, Grapes

Social media has changed the way that people around the world obtain and digest news, or “fake news”, along with the speed at which the news becomes public. The reality is that social media has taken on a much larger role in product visibility and promotion, especially if the demographic target is the younger generations. So, if you haven’t stopped to think about how social media directly and indirectly impacts the Food and Agribusiness industry, you might should.

Solving labor challenges within the industry

Matt Dusi, Wells Fargo Sector Manager, Fresh and Frozen Fruits and Vegetables

As I visit agribusinesses throughout the country, the topic of labor comes up in each and every conversation. Whether I’m talking with a diversified vegetable operation in California or a fruit juice processor in Michigan, the labor issue is affecting big and small agriculture operations alike. In years past, the standard conversation involved healthcare costs, and how agribusinesses could absorb the increasing costs. About two years ago, as front line labor became increasingly difficult to obtain, the conversation evolved to how agribusinesses would be able to pass along the added costs of minimum wage hikes. And now, the conversation has evolved beyond finding labor, and is about retaining semi-skilled labor, and the critical nature of this for consistent operations.

Online meal kits – Cooking out of the box

Scott Etzel, Wells Fargo Sector Manager, Protein and Sugar

Over the last two years, more than 150 companies have entered the online meal kit sector, registering combined U.S. sales of $2.2 billion in 2017. Although this is a small number compared to the $641 billion in total grocery store sales for 20171, it’s clear that meal kit companies have found a market niche. Further, these companies have been successful in convincing some consumers to pay a premium to have meal ingredients and a recipe arrive at their front door on a weekly basis.

Blockchain technology (simply spoken)

Tim Luginsland, Wells Fargo Sector Manager, Grain and Oilseeds

My position within the Wells Fargo Food and Agribusiness Advisors group, supporting the grain sector, has allowed me to interact with many intelligent people involved with grain. Several years ago, I recall visiting with a good friend and customer who stated, “The grain industry is as efficient as it can be. I don’t see any way it can get any more efficient.”

Maximize Your Resources

Ripe grapes in fall. autumn harvest.Lon Swanson, Wells Fargo Sector Manager, Crop Inputs and Feed
Chris Eggerman, Wells Fargo Sector Analyst, Crop Inputs and Feed (research contributor)

My golf game would be considered poor at best, although once in a while I get lucky and hit a phenomenal shot. In charity golf events, a scramble format is normally incorporated, so that each player on the team plays from the best shot, thereby allowing the strength of each player to lower the overall team score. In effect, with this format, you are maximizing the available resources.

Is organic production the next product differentiator?

Ripe grapes in fall. autumn harvest.Lee Ann Pearce, Sector Manager, Wineries, Vineyards, Tree Nuts

I recently visited one of our Oregon winery customers and they told me that, over the next two years, their vineyard would be completely converted to organic production. I wondered if their customers would appreciate the change since converting to organic farming takes a minimum of three years and is regulated by the government. Would the increase in farming costs and regulatory reporting be important to the consumer?

Amazon is already disrupting the grocery industry

Holding online supermarket smartphoneBrad Rubin, Wells Fargo Food and Agribusiness Sector Analyst, Specialty Crops

In just 24 years, Amazon has become the largest internet retailer in the world measured by revenue1, and three years ago, it surpassed Walmart to become the largest retailer in the world by market capitalization. Amazon has transformed itself from an online bookstore into a retail giant. In addition to its retail business, Amazon’s cloud infrastructure, commonly known as Amazon Web Services (AWS), controls about 40% of the cloud computing market2. Based on its track record, it appears that Amazon finds a way to win in whatever space it chooses to enter.

Is every animal in the food chain unique and important?

Cattle Herd and Ranching on the Great PlainsMatthew Stommes, Wells Fargo Sector Manager, Protein (Beef, Pork, Poultry)

I grew up on a farm in a very large family, and feeding 11 children was no small task for my parents. Every four months or so, my parents needed to replenish the meat freezer, and so my siblings and I would each sit on five-gallon buckets and watch as the local butcher slaughtered an old Holstein cow or a fattened steer in our farmyard. It was a normal way of life for us, and we recognized that’s where our beef, and our favorite burgers, came from.

Addressing food waste in America

Fresh Food In Garbage Can To Illustrate WasteMatt Dusi, Wells Fargo Sector Manager, Fresh and Frozen Fruits and Vegetables

Believe it or not, food represents the single largest component, by weight, of municipal solid waste reaching landfills and incinerators in the U.S. Bottom line, the U.S. is wasting up to 40% of the food produced in the country. How, exactly, did we reach a point where the U.S. annually sends more food to the landfill than total annual food quantities consumed by many nations?

Where’s the meat? A look at alternative proteins

Nuts as alternative proteinsTim Luginsland, Wells Fargo Sector Manager, Grain and Oilseeds
Chris Eggerman, Sector Analyst, Grains, Crop Inputs, Forest Products

Traditional meats such as beef, pork, and chicken are the dominant protein sources in the U.S. and also in most other developed countries, and account for an estimated 30% of the calories consumed globally. However, alternative protein sources — plant-based sources, lab-produced “meat”, seafood substitutes, and insects — are becoming increasingly popular.