Wine in a can — sustainable alternative or packaging gimmick?

Wine in a canLee Ann Pearce, Wells Fargo Sector Manager, Winery, Vineyards, and Tree Nuts

Wine in a can is not a new concept, having been around for some time, however, it’s taking on new life as the wine industry adapts to ever-changing consumer preferences. As baby boomers age out, and the millennial generation ages in for alcohol consumption, it’s apparent that wineries are working to keep pace with this physically active and environmentally conscious consumer group. Millennials value portability and ease of recycling, but don’t wish to sacrifice quality and product authenticity in the process. Winemakers are clearly listening to their customers, since the number of premium wine brands that are embracing the packaging of wine in cans is increasing.

Nutrition facts food label 101

woman in grocery storeDavid Branch, Wells Fargo Sector Manager, Specialty and Non-Grain Crops

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released its long-anticipated, new and improved nutrition facts label for food and beverages. The established date by which manufacturers will be required to comply with the new requirements is July 26, 2018, although there is speculation that the implementation may be delayed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). According to the FDA, smaller manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual sales will be granted an additional year for compliance. Foreign manufacturers that export packaged foods into the U.S. will also have to comply with the new requirements for relevant exports.

Generational preferences impact the food industry

Couple Grocery ShoppingScott Etzel, Wells Fargo Sector Manager, Protein

Courtney Buerger Schmidt, Wells Fargo Sector Analyst, Protein and Dairy

Changes are taking place throughout the food industry to address an increasingly important generation — the millennial. Born between 1977 and 1992, millennials have now surpassed baby boomers, born 1943-1960, to become the country’s largest, living generation. According to the latest U.S. Census report, millennials, totaling 83.1 million, now represent one-quarter of the U.S. population, with boomers totaling 75.4 million.

Online grocery shopping emerges as market share contender

Karol FlureColin Guheen, Wells Fargo Sector Manager, Packaged Foods, Restaurant, and Food Retail
Chris Innes, Wells Fargo Industry Risk Associate, Packaged Foods, Restaurant, and Food Retail

You can’t smell fresh cilantro through your computer screen or feel the ripeness of an avocado on your smartphone. That is, until such technology is developed. Over the next decade, as online shopping evolves as the fastest growing channel in the grocery sector, we will see if a true phase-shift emerges in food buying behavior, or if online grocery shopping plateaus and becomes an occasional option for “stock-up” packaged goods.

Embracing innovation: AgTech trends

Karol FlureKarol Aure-Flynn, Wells Fargo Sector Analyst, Specialty and Non-Grain Crops sector

Innovation is the hallmark of farming. Small and large farmers and other businesses throughout the agriculture value chain, from first stage processors to final packagers, are among the greatest innovators in history. The old adage, “necessity is the mother of invention”, was born out of the farming culture where crops and food items must be produced at a price that the market can support throughout cycles of commodity boom and bust.

Gluten sensitivity’s impact on the milling industry

gluten freeTim Luginsland, Wells Fargo Sector Manager, Grains and Oilseeds with research data contribution from Chris Eggerman, Wells Fargo Sector Analyst, Grains and Oilseeds

I vividly recall entering the first grade. It was a big step up from kindergarten because it meant a full day of school and that meant eating lunch at school. At lunch each day, the entire class would walk single file through the lunch room collecting a tray filled with food, except for one boy named Tim. He brought his lunch every day because he said he was allergic to flour. While today, we know this condition to be labeled celiac, back then it sounded devastating and scary. Our lunches featured lasagna, pizza, sandwiches, hamburgers, and hot dogs, along with desserts of cookies, cake, and cobblers. Tim’s lunch pail always contained prepared meats, hard-boiled eggs, carrots, and an apple or banana.

Was there really a restaurant recession in 2016?

father and daughter laughingRob Fox, Wells Fargo Food and Agribusiness Sector Manager, Dairy

Over the course of 2016, there were numerous media reports about weakening sales in the restaurant industry — particularly as it relates to publicly traded chains.1 Some analysts went as far as to call it a “restaurant recession.” This struck me as puzzling since broader economic indicators such as low gasoline prices, disposable income growth, and low unemployment rates, as depicted by the charts below, are typically correlated with an increase in dining out.

Cage-free eggs: The latest trend or a new commodity?

Matt StommesMatt Stommes, Wells Fargo Sector Manager, Poultry, Beef, and Pork Protein Sectors

Growing up on a farm, I continually observed the passion and hard work that my dad put forth to care for our Holstein cows and calves, serving as their nutritionist, doctor, physical therapist, and general laborer. He provided them maximum comfort, cleanliness, and timely feeding and milking, recognizing that giving the cows a better life typically meant better returns and maximized efficiency.

Wine as an economic indicator

Wine GlassLee Ann Pearce, Wells Fargo Sector Manager, Specialty Crops

You’ve likely never stopped to think about how the quality and price point of the wine in your wine glass reflects the consumer’s current perception of the economy. So, you might be surprised to learn that, historically, wine consumption has been a pretty good indicator of how confident the American consumer is feeling about the economy.

Merger mania is the name of the game for crop inputs

M & ALon Swanson, Wells Fargo Sector Manager, Crop Inputs and Feed
Chris Eggerman, Wells Fargo Sector Analyst, Crop Inputs and Feed

Mergers in the Food and Agribusiness industry have been taking place for decades as farmers, suppliers, and processors have worked to improve efficiencies in effort to increase their bottom lines.

I remember when my Dad “merged” his farm with my Uncle Evert’s farm operation so they could share their harvesting equipment. The purchase of a new combine at a price tag of $300,000 made far more sense when it could service 2,000 combined acres rather than 1,000 acres, therefore spreading this capital expenditure across more acres.