The Pie: Who is Telling the Future

June 7, 2024

Who is telling the future?

Hey Saturday Friends,

We are going to keep it short and sweet so you can dive into today's slice. The second half of the month has been interesting and we are nerdily frolicking through food events and summits heavily focused on climate, forever chemicals, and inflation. More cost woes have churned up and there are now 60,000 fewer tech employees that want to spend top dollar at Erewhon and Whole Foods. But we are finding more common threads in food: the rise of the small farmer and manufacturer as seen in a growing number of TikToks and grocer collaborations.

Recently, it was announced that the USDA is taking more steps to curb the chemical pipeline. Sales of organic foods in the United States have more than doubled in the past 10 years, jumping by a record 12.4 percent in 2020 to $61.9 billion. Check out the interview on curbing fraud in farming management.

We love the culture tidbits coming out of this month and there's, even more, we are celebrating here at Sundance with a toasty slew of food movies. Jump into our culture section below to find out why we think about the future of groceries.

What else do you want to see predicted?

Stay well,  

Riana & Team 🌱

The Chemical Pipeline

Today's government standards require that products bearing the organic label are produced without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and synthetic nitrogen fertilizers, antibiotics, synthetic hormones, genetic engineering or other excluded practices, sewage sludge, or irradiation. It’s a high bar that even many farms that use more natural practices don’t meet across the United States. We get it, we are a big country and it leaves room for a lot of operational leaks as margins are tighter than ever.

In a recent Washington Post interview, the sentiment was stated clearly: “As a longtime organic farmer, I know how expensive and time-consuming it is to adhere to the required standards to earn a USDA-certified organic label.

If we start to up the ante beyond farms. Can lagging countries' CPG standards rapidly meet global lists for banned chemicals set in places like Canada, European Union, and South Korea?

The Culture

Netflix movies and the dystopian future of groceries; NOMA-isms; A first-kind book store committed to the history and future of black food.

I decided to dive into two Netflix hits: “From Scratch” and “White Noise” as two striking grocery store scenes began to rouse my curiosity about how pop culture affects the next phase of our food shopping.

A bit of escapism is at play here in scenes, and I mean true-life escapism, as egg prices hit all-time highs and surpass the federal minimum wage. Dystopian grocery stores are a common trope in dystopian literature, film, and other forms of media. These stores are typically depicted as bleak, rundown, or sterile. They often reflect the state of the society they are in, usually suffering from poverty, scarcity or totalitarian control.

The Netflix hits’ portrayal of grocery stores in dystopian settings serves as a commentary on the state of society the story is set in, often reflecting poverty, scarcity or lack of control individuals have over their own lives. We have to dive into depictions of dystopian grocery stores in fiction are a stylistic choice, and seem to be on par with the movement of grocery stores and restaurants today: soul-less, human-less, and enveloped with brutalist design. Our biggest opportunity is infusing more flavor and culture into automation and AI.

A very quick applause and response to the soon-to-shutter global leader in restaurant experiences and “Noma-isms,” like fermented everything and hyper-local ingredient sourcing, were popularized and then shipped off to fine dining restaurants and trendy R&D manufacturers around the world. Unfortunately, the math ain't mathin' and the chef's tribulations clearly show we are going to have to continue to re-invent and re-invest in economic sustainability in biodiversity to rid the last 70 years of agricultural soul-sucking.

Sisters Gabrielle and Danielle Davenport created and have operated this delicious dreamworld BEM Books in Brooklyn since 2021. The bookstore stocks cookbooks by Black chefs as well as fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and children’s books that are related to food and written by Black writers. BEM’s selection, which is available online, always includes new releases like Ghetto Gastro’s Black Power Kitchen and Tanya Holland’s California Soul, which Gabrielle, a native Californian, says she “can’t stop gazing at.”

“We knew there were food bookstores in the world and lots of wonderful Black-owned bookstores that we love, but we weren't aware of a Black food bookstore,” says Danielle. “It felt like a really exciting, super tiny niche for us to dig into and to really think about all of the ways that food works in our storytelling and cultures. Go support them with a follow today.

The line

More TikTok-economics and growth of the small egg farmers.  TikTok has become one of the best places to launch and explore the implications of food inflation. The creativity, the entrepreneurship, and the algorithm make for a treat. Head on over.

Thank you for taking a bite.
Stay easy.

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