The Pie: This Year In Food and Action

Friends -

Welcome back to The Pie. We are gearing up for a busy year, and more impactful partnerships. That means more bold data, and more action.

Before the winter break, we joined dozens of leaders at COP28 to help drive more creativity and insights to the convening. A highlight was most definitely the Entertainment & Culture Pavillion. One event we participated in was the FoodTank roundtable with Oatly. What's most important is that we find ways to be honest and present in these conversations to keep holding organizations accountable. We have to posit: If we are facing a global chemical and nutrition disaster with products like glyphosate, how can we make a sponsor or a global oat company answer the waves of consumers who want answers? Here's a summary of the findings: COP28 Action Plan.

A key highlight from our team was to call out the need for more private and public funding improvements, and the decentralization of food manufacturing. A more hyperlocal food innovation system will decrease waste, improve jobs, and improve nutrition and shelf-life shifts.

Over the past year, the food and agriculture movement has improved upon all its aspects - from production, distribution, and education - to serve the unique needs of their communities and ensure access to healthy, affordable, and sustainable food for all. Here is the list of 124 organizations to watch for in 2024 that make food justice their top priority.

In the United States, organizations like Ayundando Latinos A Soñar, Black Urban Growers, IndigeHub, Soul Fire Farm, and the National Black Food and Justice Alliance focus on supporting minority communities by promoting food sovereignty and infrastructure. Meanwhile, organizations like Women Advancing Nutrition Dietetics and Agriculture help women’s voices be heard by supporting nutrition equity. Other organizations, such as the Rodale Institute and Regenerate America, espouse the benefits of regenerative agriculture, while the National Young Farmers Coalition and Teens for Food Justice work to empower young people by providing them with nutrition education and land access, addressing other issues such as mental health as well.

The list includes organizations based in India, Haiti, Liberia, Kenya, Ecuador, Canada, Mexico, and more. These organizations address various issues from hunger, to soil health, climate change, and drought, while providing reprieve to struggling farmers. Others - such as the Future Food Institute and the Global Alliance for the Future of Food - are international organizations that focus on large-scale issues like climate resilience and circular food systems and economies.

Interested in finding new ways to get involved in your community? Check out the list on FoodTank to find local organizations that resonate with you!

Riana & the Journey Team 🌱

The Trend Pie

It looks as if 2024 is ripe with exciting and upcoming food trends that you should be looking out for. We scanned trends in politics, investment, consumer sentiment, and social traffic.

This is what we are seeing:

  • The Rise of Youtube and TikTok nutrition leaders will have a large impact on food marketing and sales
  • Plant-based meat shifts from environment back to nutrition-focused recipes and communications strategies
  • Stripe will be the VC of choice
  • Bio-reactors and the investment of R&D cultivated meat centers
  • The wonderful nutritional benefits of buckwheat
  • Women’s health and fertility products
  • TikTok vs. Amazon for small CPG opportunities
  • Cacao pulp in everything; Ghana takes back more ownership
  • And more

Expect to know all about them in the coming weeks. Please share this email with your friends and jump in!

The Line

Grocers are taking a stand.

The cost of groceries is becoming a bigger strain on consumer and family budgets as food prices continue to plateau. The high cost of food, which started during the COVID-19 pandemic, is starting to become the new normal as phenomena like inflation, avian influenza, drought, shifting climate patterns, and geopolitical conflict and war play their parts in hampering food production and distribution.

However, while some price increases are to be expected, some grocers are putting their foot down and demanding more affordable prices for consumers. Carrefour, a multinational grocer that operates in over 30 countries, announced their decision to stop selling Pepsi soft drinks, Doritos chips, Lay’s, Cheetos and more in their France, Belgium, and Italy locations. Their reason was cited to be due to “an unacceptable price increase”. Governments and retailers are working to combat high food inflation and price increases, and they’re starting with manufacturers who take advantage of a practice called shrinkflation.

While a return to pre-pandemic levels is unlikely, the cost of certain foods should stabilize and decrease based on supply and demand as well as novel farming practices and innovative solutions. New food substitutions and ideas are emerging every day to offer fresh ways to combat grocery shortages and high prices. Additionally, as major retailers and governments work together, food prices should see a slight decrease.

These prices are not the highest they have been, but they are a concern for consumers whose trips to the grocery store continually eat away at their expenditures. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index, the food-at-home price index rose 1.7 percent since December 2023, with the food-away-from-home index rising by 5.3 percent. These increases include goods such as cereals, bakery products, fruits and vegetables, and meats and eggs. According to a Food Dive article, “food inflation has remained ‘stubbornly high’ throughout the year relative to other consumer goods categories.”

Foods such as blueberries suffer due to “unusually warm weather” that have wreaked havoc on crop production in Peru - the world’s biggest exporter of blueberries - hiking up prices to $6 per pound in November 2023. Beloved sauces like Huy Fong’s sriracha saw a scare when the company announced a decline in bottles due to a shortage of chili peppers brought on by dry conditions in Mexico. The Ukraine-Russia war has also impacted corn, wheat, and rice production, while other goods like canned pet food suffer supply-chain issues in aluminum packaging.

This week's pie was baked by Riana and Emerson on the Journey Team

Eat well.

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