retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Got this response from MNB reader Kathleen Ottaviano to Kate McMahon's piece last week about The Dinner Daily's customized meal plans:

Thank you, Kate for this article!  I’ve been using a meal kit service, but every week when I unpack the items and throw away the plastic I have a vision of Greta Thunberg giving me the evil eye.

This sounds like the perfect combination of cost savings for me while being better for the environment.   I’m checking it out now!




We also got several responses to last week's column by Michael Sansolo.

MNB reader John Rand wrote:

Just caught up with Michael's Shawshank Redemption column, and wanted to say that referring to  “young Gen Xers” may be at least, in part, making the same point as the column. No matter how you define Gen X, they are no longer the youngsters, either as workers in the business or as  consumers.  Gen X is now (mostly) mature, married, probably has a home and a mortgage, has a couple of kids at least school age, has been in the working world for 20 years or so.

The descriptors for generational groups are imprecise, but Gen Y / Millennial commonly float about as successors to Gen X. Gen X is the group immediately following Boomers, which you, Kevin, and Michael are … The last of the Boomer group, even in its most expanded form, was born by around 1965. Gen X would be (roughly) born between 1965 and 1985 – which would make the youngest of the group at least in the middle 30s, and the leading edge in their 50s.

Catch up, guys. The young POV you so rightly advocate should be heeded in the changing marketplace is in the hands of people in their 20s and 30s – and however described, they are not Gen X.


From another reader:

While Michael’s main point, quoting Shawshank Redemption, was to put ourselves in positions of discomfort, he mentions “courting opinions from all parts of our teams, including those young Gen X staffers…”  We Gen X staffers are not so young any more, and some of the dang Millennials are over 30! Just goes to show how fast things move these days…



MNB reader Carl Jorgensen responded to my piece about regenerative agriculture:

Thanks for running the piece on the new business coalition pushing regenerative agriculture. Using regenerative farming methods to restore soil health (which sequesters atmospheric carbon) and biodiversity in our food production system may be the single most powerful way we can fight climate change.
 


On another subject, from another MNB reader:

Love your coverage on the ongoing new frontier of food, specifically the plant-based burger wars. I'm sorry to hear you had some bad experiences with Impossible. I highly recommend Beyond Meat/Beyond Burger - in my opinion, a far better product all around. We've been eating their stuff for years and love it. Another great one to check out is Before the Butcher, or, if you're ever in Minneapolis, the Herbivorous Butcher.



MNB last week took note of a New York Times report on the passing, at age 108, of Anthony Mancinelli, who had been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's oldest working barber. Mancinelli, who had only retired a few weeks ago after being diagnosed with jaw cancer, started cutting hair when President Warren Harding was in the White House, and he had cut the hair of some four generations of men.

One MNB reader wrote:

I love these types of stories about regular people. I hope you’ll keep including them.   I definitely learned why I carry several extra pounds;  I like thicker pasta and wide noodles.  If only I had known to eat thin spaghetti like Mr. Manicelli.



I've spent a lot of time writing about what I called vaping-gate … the problems that the vaping business is encountering because seemingly related illnesses, which has led to bans in some places - including the decision by some retailers, like Walmart, not to carry them.

MNB retailer Mike Arnold wrote:

No one is claiming they used Juul products that I have seen. Synthetic THC and other off the street chemicals are suspected. I don’t think people should be using tobacco or vaping but I also don’t think that you wash a whole industry down the drain for a few bad actors and bad decisions by the users.  

If that was how it is supposed to be done, the beer, wine and alcohol industry would be long gone...For that matter most industries would be gone. Newsletters too!


I disagree. These products are all designed to addict people, and if those people end up dead, well, that's too bad because there are a lot more addicts in the pipeline … especially if you can use flavors and marketing to get them when they're young.

Beer and wine are not designed to addict you. It can happen, but they're not engineered that way. I hope people get addicted to newsletters like mine, but I'm pretty sure they won't kill you.

I have no sympathy for any of these people or companies. I'd wash them all down the drain in a second.

(For new MNB readers … I've always been upfront about my feelings regarding this industry. My mom died of lung cancer at age 67 after having been a 40-year smoker. I don't absolve her of blame, but I detest these people.)
KC's View: