Joe Biden's Meat - Apparent non-vegan and President of the United States Joe Biden has big beef with Big Meat. Among the myriad of antitrust related issues plaguing corporate America, the on-goings in the meat industry are some of the most politically sensitive on account of their proximity to everyday life for the average U.S. consumer. As a result, it's no surprise the White House wants to round up the herd.
An estimated 85% of the national meatpacking industry is controlled by four players; Tyson Foods, JBS, Seaboard, and Marfig. Like other U.S. industries including cell phone carriers, bond rating agencies, and of course, consumer technology, this smells like oligopoly. Biden stated "Capitalism without competition isn't capitalism. It's exploitation." And, looking at the prices of your favorite meats in the grocery store, he might be onto something. Overall grocery prices have seen a 6.4% runup in prices since last year, with poultry, egg, and other meat prices alone rising 12.8%, double the overall growth. At the same time, some reports claim prices paid to ranchers and farmers for these meats have fallen.
Obviously, Joey B has said this is the result of exploitations, but Big Meat calls it something different. "Labor shortages" were the crutch industry execs leaned on to explain higher prices, claiming the administration was trying to paint the meatpackers as greedy and corrupt when they're really just understaffed. Still, not much in terms of big news came out of all this show and dance from either side. Joey B's administration is doling out cash here and there to smaller producers to try and help them compete, but no major antitrust action has been put in place yet. C'mon Lina Khan, where you at?
A Martini, Not Shaken, nor Stirred - People cope with challenges in a plethora of different ways. Some have meditation, some seek professional help, and others have alcohol. With this in mind, it's no surprise alcohol sales across the U.S. jumped during the pandemic, but what Americans were drinking might be.
For starters, beer sales dropped. This is understandable as a beer is best had where it can be shot-gunned and degeneracy can ensue, not trapped in your parent's basement. Distilleries, on the other hand, had some of their best sales ever. Hard drinks were popping off in an also understandable way, as you might need more than a beer to get through the 11th loaf of sourdough your mom made. But within the distiller category, one drink seems to be taking the place of White Claw and other seltzers as the drink of the year.
Premade, ready to drink cocktail sales more than doubled in 2021. That's right, canned margaritas and martinis alike were all the rage for the non-mixologist crowd. This presents an interesting trend for adult beverage companies and what exactly gets their customers excited to sip. With 27% of Americans now listing hard liquor as their most often consumed drink, a jump from 18% the year prior, simultaneously with beer falling from 46% to 39%, industry dynamics are flip-flopping all over the place.
Not to worry, however, as we won't have to wait too long for answers. Later this week, we'll have reports from boots on the ground as Constellation Brands releases their latest earnings.