• From the Associated Press:
"While there have not yet been global disruptions to wheat supplies, prices have surged 55% since a week before the invasion amid concerns about what could happen next. If the war is prolonged, countries that rely on affordable wheat exports from Ukraine could face shortages starting in July, International Grains Council director Petit Arnold told the Associated Press.
That could create food insecurity and throw more people into poverty in places like Egypt and Lebanon, where diets are dominated by government-subsidized bread. In Europe, officials are preparing for potential shortages of products from Ukraine and increased prices for livestock feed that could mean more expensive meat and dairy if farmers are forced to pass along costs to customers.
"Russia and Ukraine combine for nearly a third of the world's wheat and barley exports. Ukraine also is a major supplier of corn and the global leader in sunflower oil, used in food processing. The war could reduce food supplies just when prices are at their highest levels since 2011."
• BJ's Wholesale Club announced last week that it plans to open four new clubs, which it described as "the first phase of its 2022 development plans."
According to the company, the "newest clubs will be located in Warwick, R.I., Lady Lake, Fla., Canton, Mich., and Greenburgh, N.Y. … The new clubs in Florida, Michigan and New York will feature an extensive selection of fresh foods, a full-service deli and household essentials like paper products, cleaning products, diapers, pet supplies and more. Plus, the clubs will offer an exciting assortment of fashion for the family, seasonal items, toys, hot tech and a selection of local products.
"The Warwick, R.I. club will serve as an innovation lab for the brand. Named BJ’s Market, the club will allow for testing out new assortments, displays, product demonstrations and convenience initiatives."
• From the Wall Street Journal this morning:
"Shake Shack Inc. is offering the cryptocurrency bitcoin as a reward for purchases made at the burger chain using Cash App, a digital wallet offered by Block Inc.
"Customers will receive 15% of their purchase back in the form of bitcoin on any Shake Shack purchase made with Cash Card, a debit card available to Cash App users, and by buying items via Cash Boost, a rewards program available to Cash Card members.
Users can search for the promotion in Cash App, under the Cash Boost program and Cash Card tab, through mid-March.
"Shake Shack is testing whether it can reach younger consumers on Cash App and if customers are interested in more cryptocurrency options, executives at the burger chain said … Shake Shack hasn’t seen demand from its customers to pay with cryptocurrencies, so this experiment will be helpful in determining if the company should begin accepting them as a form of payment or extending the rewards program at some point, said Jay Livingston, chief marketing officer of the burger chain."
• From the Financial Times:
"Unilever is to publish nutrition scores for its food portfolio, which includes Ben & Jerry’s and Magnum ice-cream, Hellmann’s mayonnaise and Knorr stock cubes, against external health metrics and set new targets following pressure from investors over obesity.
"The pledge to assess performance against six measures, including the UK’s 'high in fat, sugar and salt' definition and Europe’s Nutri-Score, comes after institutional investors including €150bn asset manager Candriam tabled a shareholder resolution on the issue.
"Unilever, which is the world’s largest ice-cream maker, will set out fresh targets by October, and said it would be the first global food group to publish nutritional performance in this way. It will assess performance globally and for 16 key markets by product volume and revenues."