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Episode 12: Food Trends of 2021

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The Farm.One podcast team is back again after a food filled weekend. Rob, Michael, and Ina catch up and talk through some of the food trends of 2021. The New York Times & Forbes shared reports of food trends and predictions for 2021.

The team takes a deep dive into 7 of them. The podcast team talks about our thoughts and initial reactions on each trend and what it means for our farm.

1. Flavor Fatigue – Are we too overwhelmed and choosing more comfort foods?

2. Sustainability as Table Stakes – How is sustainability becoming more centered in our conversations?

3. Relocalization – How does our food choices impact local communities?

4. Health & Immunity is becoming more essential. – Does this food serve and protect me?

5. Democratization – How does our food choices align with our values?

6. Meal Kits from Chefs – Is there overcrowding in the meal kit world?

7. Food Label – Does a label impact the way I buy?

To read more about 2021 food trends, take a look at the links below:

7 Food and Lifestyle Trends That Will Define 2021, Forbes (Subscription Required)

How Will We Eat in 2021? 11 Predictions to Chew On, New York Times


[00:00:02.970] - Ina

Hi, everyone, and welcome to Episode 12 of the Farm One podcast. My name is Ina Tubilleja. I'm the chief of staff. And today we have Rob Laing, our CEO and founder.

[00:00:15.750] - Rob

Hello there. How are you doing?

[00:00:17.890] - Ina

Awesome, thanks. And Michael Chin, vice president of Corporate Development.

[00:00:22.720] - Michael

Hi, everyone. Hope you're all doing well.

[00:00:26.530] - Ina

How was both of your weekends?

[00:00:28.960] - Rob

I had a good weekend. I kind of came off, you know, last week I was really sluggish from New Year's, and so most of the week I drank smoothies, which sounds like a real chore, but it's actually partly recipe development for some things that we're working on. So it was like a mixture of work and play. But yeah, I drank a lot of smoothies last week, so I kind of was without salt, I guess, and oil and sugar for like a lot of people talk about like S.O.S Free. I don't know if you've heard of that before, but like, yes, it was kind of like an S.O.S free week. But then I kind of pounded into the weekend and we went to Superiority Burger in the East Village, which I don't know if any of our listeners will know them, but they, they were great. So they, sort of guy who used to be at Del Posto, a pastry chef, actually, Brooks Headley, who left and sort of started this kind of punk-ish, skate-ish, vegan burger store and not just vegan, they did vegetarian as well. And it was the kind of place where they would like literally just posted a special on Instagram and then you could go down there and there'd be like three out of seven things left on the menu because they'd run out of the rest, but always really good. But what we didn't realize was it was actually the last day of them being open for several months. They've had to close. For some reason, it wasn't really clear why. And hopefully they're coming back in short order. But, so there was a massive line. So, you know, Gabby and I were waiting in the cold. I think it was more than an hour. You can't tell really, can you, when you're standing on the street just waiting. But we had that and that was great. But it's kind of a bit of a salt bomb. And then I don't know why, but we had another burger in the evening, like an impossible burger or something like that. And I think we were both craving a burger twice. So, yeah, that was kind of a lot then. But apart from that, you know, good weekend. And I mean, it was good, but like, I felt very salty. So I don't do loads of salt. I don't know. Do you do you guys get this when you haven't had salt or like haven't really been eating out that much and then you go and eat out and then the quantity of salt and sugar and oil and stuff is like a lot and your body can sort of feel it. You know, I don't know if you experience the same thing.

[00:02:50.800] - Ina

I get the same way. So on Friday I had made margaritas and chips and salsa. And so that was just heavy salt. Like I even ran the glass of the margarita with salt. And then Saturday morning, I'm sure that the alcohol had something to do with this also, but my fingers were swollen. So I definitely felt the salt content in my body. Yeah.

[00:03:11.140] - Rob

Yeah. Do you feel it, Michael?

[00:03:13.930] - Michael

Yeah. It's funny because I was just kind of joking about it because I didn't, I didn't used to.

[00:03:23.020] - Rob

Me neither.

[00:03:23.020] - Michael

But it wasn't until the last few years that I've felt the effects of that. I mean, it's sort of like, you know, when you're younger too right. Like, what's a hangover? You'd bounce back right away. And then all of a sudden at some stage in your life, you're just like, what did I eat last night? What happened?

[00:03:42.370] - Rob

Yeah, I know. I mean, I do also think for me, I especially noticed if I haven't had any salt for a while and then I go and I eat something relatively salty and it really just throws me for a loop now. And I mean, obviously it doesn't happen that often, but I really notice it. So. Yeah, and it's something that I don't know if I've ever read an article, anyone talking about it in the media. So I've always kind of wondered if it's just a 'Rob' thing, but clearly not. So that's good. Yeah. What about you, Michael? Did you have any exciting food adventures?

[00:04:15.490] - Michael

Not, really it's, you know, the pandemic sort of been a lot about cooking and making sort of large pots of things and just living off of leftovers. So this weekend was a lot of leftovers from, from earlier in the week and, but, you know, pretty chilled out, otherwise pretty, very low key where, you know, as we've eaten out a couple of times, well when I say eating out, it's getting takeout.

[00:04:45.790] - Rob


[00:04:46.510] - Michael

And, you know, we're trying to support sort of some of the the local restaurants that we used to eat at. But it's been a little bit we did that over New Years and, you know, maybe we'll do it this weekend. But, yeah, it's pretty low key. It was perfect in that respect.

[00:05:05.010] - Rob

Cool, and Ina, other food adventures apart from your margarita's, your salty margaritas?

[00:05:12.000] - Ina

I actually took a trip to Rawsome Treats yesterday they're in the Bowery Nolita area. They do a lot of desserts, I love. I'm definitely a dessert person. My sweet tooth, ever since I was a kid has been just extreme. And so the desserts that they have are made from all plant based ingredients and they're all raw. And it was delicious. The pumpkin latte was definitely my favorite. Michael, you said that you had the black sesame pie? I had that one, too. That one was really good.

[00:05:43.770] - Michael

Yeah. It was fantastic.

[00:05:46.410] - Rob

Did you try an ice cream sandwich?

[00:05:48.630] - Ina

No, it was just way too cold for me to even think about carrying an ice cream sandwich, although it probably would have made it the whole trip home. So, yeah, it's that time of the year where ice cream is not really my go to.

[00:06:01.290] - Rob

No, I get you. I get you. They were handing out ice cream, at Superiority Burger as well. But we couldn't bring ourselves to do it because I think our core body temperature was like thirty or something anyway. But yeah, the ice cream sandwiches at Rawsome are also great. And they're on Orchard Street. I think Orchard Grocer is also an Orchard Street. That would make sense, wouldn't it. And then they do this great like vegan sandwiches and stuff like a, like a vegan version of a Rueben or like a Cubano, I think they do. I don't know. But yeah, they're great to. So good little street for that kind of thing. Great. Well what's happening today. Ina, what are we doing.

[00:06:39.870] - Ina

Today we're going to be talking a lot about food trends and what we're going to see in this year in 2021. There have been a couple of reports that have been released by Forbes, New York Times and Carbonite that we're going to share in the links below. And they talk a little bit about some of the trends that are going to shape the way that we consume food for the year to come. And what we're going to do is we're going to talk through some that we find interesting and that are going to shape the way that we think about our food also from Farm.One. So we're actually going to kick off with this trend from the Forbes article, which is about flavor fatigue. So what this talks a lot about is the idea of complex flavors. You know, it's already an emotionally bearing year, you know we've been in an emotionally bearing time for a while. 2020 was definitely difficult and it's going to continue on for the next year. And what is our capacity to experience complex flavors and are we going to start thinking about simplicity and ingredients again? Michael or Rob, do you want to share a little bit about your thoughts on what you think about this?

[00:07:54.890] - Rob

I have a lot of complex emotions about this, I mean, because, you know, personally, during lockdown. I mean, and then the definition of quarantine, a lockdown is, of course, different for everybody across the country and across the world. But, you know, certainly the experience for us was, of course, you know, no dining out. And I, yeah, I would agree. There's a certain element of like not sort of feeling like it's time to be adventurous, but at the same time, complete boredom as well. And, you know, we we don't order takeout that often, but probably once a week or so. And then we order from pretty much a rotating list of like five different places that are good. But running out of kind of options there. And I guess, yeah, it's this thing of like, you know, what are the things what are the things that push you to try new things? Right. It's normally like meeting friends or someone introducing you to something or like, you know, being, feeling carefree, feeling abundant, feeling that it's OK to make a mistake or something. Then it's like, all right, well, yeah, I'll pop into this new taco place if it doesn't happen to be great, like whatever. I'm still having a good time with my friends. I'm still, you know, maybe just socializing, whereas that's gone now. Right. So when food arrives, either you've made it in your kitchen or it arrives as takeout, like it's sort of like it better be good because that is like the highlight of your day that you're sort of looking for. And if it's disappointing, then, oh shit, I've got quarantine and I've got bad food. This is terrible. Right? So I can sort of see why people might reach for the Pringles in that situation. And so this flavor fatigue idea sort of makes sense in that respect. But I, I think there's something a little bit worrying about it as well, because I think that, you know, if you look sort of somewhat historically at the US and, you know, a lot of sort of traditional kind of white people, American foods, they tend to be sort of quite bland, you know, Western European or Eastern European foods that are, you know, lots of sort of corn and potatoes and not a lot of like spices and this kind of thing. And so the idea of something having a challenging flavor often is really closely associated with it being like a foreign food from a foreign country. And, you know, even now you'll see in a sitcom plot or something, someone might eat some food from Vietnam or something, and then they have a stomach upset because the food is too spicy or something. And it's just this like trope. Right. Is this thing that like, oh, OK. Yeah, if you're American, you might not be able to handle, like, you know, curry or something like that. And and I think there's a really bad like vibes about that. Like it's not, it's sort of this idea that, oh yeah, everything else out there is too difficult. And so that's what I really don't like about it. I guess that's why I have sort of really mixed feelings about it, I can see how people want to reach for comfort food. But I really, it's really sad if that means that all of the sort of progress that we've made around, you know, cultural, trying food from different cultures, introducing diversity into people's diets, introducing new flavors, new techniques, if that's like rolling back somehow, that's really it's really, really sad. So that's my sort of feeling about flavor fatigue. But I may be overthinking it too much. And certainly I'm also someone who, I like this chocolate bar, a company called Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate. They happen to be based in San Francisco or the Bay Area. And so they're not exactly convenient. But sometimes I order chocolate from them. And that is like my sort of, you know, comfort food base line where I'm like, I know what I'm going to get. I know it's always going to be really, really good. I know that they deliver in like two days or something like that. So it's like a very reliable thing. But so I have some sympathy for that. But, but yeah mixed, mixed feelings. I don't know, Michael. You do you do you sympathize with some of my fears about it, or am I just overthinking this?

[00:12:11.320] - Michael

I do. I do. And I think if you kind of look at what they're trying to do here in this article, it feels like they're trying to do a few different things. Right. So, you know, the premise of this point in the article is that it's based off of research published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, which, you know, if you looked at that as, if you looked at comfort food, familiarity, you know, and their point is the cognitive depletion reduces consumer enjoyment of complex flavored foods, but not simple flavored foods. It's like, OK, on the one level, you can kind of understand that and you can kind of understand familiarity, you know, comfort in the familiar, comfort in, you know, comfort foods are always these like really heavy carb, really heavy sort of starchy foods, which  also has a physiological effect on your body, right? So much gives you...

[00:13:07.530] - Rob

Slows you down.

[00:13:08.670] - Michael

It slows you down, gives you the spike of carbs that your body needs to break down. You get an insulin response and the whole thing, you know, and it makes you feel like, oh, I feel satiated, I feel good. So I think that there's maybe a couple of different things there that's happening. But yeah, I get what you're saying, Rob. And the only thing that I can really reflect on is that at New Years, we had dinner at the place that we've been having dinner for quite a few years now. Sort of a special treat. It's a sushi place in Washington, D.C. It's called Sushi Taro. They're fabulous. They're wonderful. And they don't do the regular sort of, you know, American sushi. They do the traditional kaiseki. And so we ordered this Osechi box, which is this traditional Japanese New Year box. And, you know, it's far from simple or one note flavors, right? It's about as complex as it can get. It's like one black bean and you're just like, wow, what is this? Is this crazy? It's been soaked in the syrup and all of that type of thing. What I found while I was eating that was excitement. It was almost like this rush of joy because it's almost like I felt the complete opposite of it where, you know, let's call it, you know, six days out of the week, you're eating sort of your comfort food. You're going with the familiar. And of course, there is some restrictions nowadays with the pandemic and part of the creativity that we have and the energy that you have to try to make a special meal. But what I found as I was eating this was it reignited the joy I have for food. I mean, I enjoy eating. I love food. I love different flavors. I grew up in Singapore. It's very multicultural. And, you know, from a very young age, the way my brain was formed, my relationship with food was around very dynamic and interesting flavors. And what I found when I was eating that meal was I would take a bite. And, you know, this doesn't happen very often in real life for me. But you're sitting back and as you're eating this, you're experiencing all of these flavors. And I felt nothing but joy. It was really energizing for me to almost feel like maybe there is some brightness through all of this. So I don't know. I mean, that was my experience. But that said, I also cracked into a whole tube of Pringles this weekend and that felt great. Cheddar cheese flavor seems to hit the note for me

[00:15:46.550] - Rob

You got to have the contrast, I guess. You know, you've got to have this high and amazing, you know, intricate experience. And then the only way that that becomes special is by comparing it with the Pringles. I guess. Ina, what do you think?

[00:16:01.210] - Ina

I, you know, I think that there's such a fine line between, like, emotionally eating and the emotions you feel eating. And there's like emotional eating is being motivated to eat by your emotions rather than emotions being a response to what you're eating. So, you know, being a ballet dancer for fifteen years, I had a poor relationship with food growing up and I associated a lot of negative emotions with food. And I did a lot of work to understand that you can have an emotional response from food, but you shouldn't be motivated by those emotions to choose or dictate what you should eat and what you shouldn't eat. And so what I'm like having a little bit of trouble understanding in this in this trend or in this statistic is, is this coming from a place of emotionally eating or the emotional response to eating? It's not really clear for me.

[00:16:59.770] - Rob

Yeah, I mean, we're all sort of, you know, there's before the meal and after, isn't there? And I guess one of my comfort foods, I guess, is Japanese curry, like after having lived in Japan and it being a sort of, you know, most most the time you get the curry mix out of the box, you know, you don't have to I've made it from scratch a few times, but out of the box is sort of normally better, I guess. And so for me, it's like a very, it is comforting, you know. And so. But is that driven by my need for comfort? I guess, I don't I don't feel badly about that, though. I don't know. I might stop there before I got a huge, introspective, you know, spiel, but yeah, I know what you mean Ina. It is a mixture. It's like we need food to sort of do certain things for us. But, you know, is that is that weakness? You know, maybe not.

[00:18:03.520] - Ina

Right. And like for me, like, I associate flavors and complex flavors with nourishment because those kinds of like, those I translate those flavors in my brain as like this is like my way of nourishing myself. And I can't nourish myself with the same flavor all week.

[00:18:22.030] - Rob

Well, that's what, this is what happens when I, I've done this a few times where I just drink smoothies. Right. For a few days. And I did it for five days last week. And they're not they're not just juice, they're smoothies. So they have like a lot of stuff in them. You know, normally if I'm doing one that's like. Pure nutrition, no flavor, it'll have like chickpeas in it. I did what I did one last week, which is like chickpeas, zucchini, blueberries, I think, and then red cabbage. So, like, wasn't really very sweet or anything. And after you've had those for a few days, it's really weird what happens psychologically to you, because food no longer becomes of any interest in terms of, like, excitement. You know, it's like purely nutrition. But also you're sort of feeling amazing in your body, you know, like because you've had sort of pure food for several days. But it's like it's almost like you kind of get bored in the evening or whatever, because normally you spend, I don't know about you, but I spend like at least an hour getting ready, cooking, whatever. And then, and then eating is probably another hour. Right. And then thinking how good you feel after you've eaten it is another hour. So you got three hours of the day that are purely spent around this food. Whereas with the smoothie it's kind of like over in 20 minutes, you know, and you're done. It's it's really strange what it does to you, because you on the one hand, you think, OK, I've got lots of time now to think about other stuff. And on the other hand, you think this sucks and I don't like it. So anyway, anyway, that's my take. I don't know if we're fatiguing this topic. Maybe.

[00:20:04.150] - Ina

All right. Well, we'll head on to the to the next trend that we're noticing. So the Forbes article also shared that sustainability is going to be a table stake for a lot of the way that we think about food and how we consume food, that we've seen this in the trends towards alternative proteins and plant based diets. And it's going to be a lot of people's thinking around food packaging, especially with food delivery and how we how we shop for food just on a daily basis. Rob or Michael, do you have any any thoughts or things that you want to share about this statistic or this trend?

[00:20:42.400] - Rob

Michael, you go first.

[00:20:44.710] - Michael

Well, I think the interesting part of this is that for a while sustainability, I think, at least for most consumers, I shouldn't say most, many consumers at a surface level was about, you know, maybe some packaging, maybe some different habits that you have, using reusable bags at the supermarket as opposed to, you know, plastic or the paper bags that they have. What I find interesting about this trend is it's taking sustainability to a much deeper level, a much more sort of holistic level throughout the system. So, you know, Jess, on the team talks about this a lot. What's the overall impact from from end to end of sustainability? So this idea of more plant based proteins and others, I think is really interesting. I think that's one that is going to break, seems to be breaking through. We've talked about it a lot on this podcast. We see it almost every week in the industry. But, you know, everything from the plant based proteins and meats and everything else. But it also feels like there's kind of a cultural shift that's starting to happen in all of these industries, whether it's food, fashion and others where you're being a lot more conscious about it. Maybe that's kind of a reflection of where we had been over the last few decades to, you know, people are starting to evolve and mature, maybe in their in their way of thinking about sustainability, you know, on the fashion end maybe there's a move or a trend away from kind of fast disposable fashion of the H&M type to, you know, I'm going to buy a pair of jeans that, you know, will last me more than one season, by choice. Right. And also by durability. I think we're starting to see that reflect a little bit more. I think that's really encouraging. You know, I I think we're seeing things like veganism and and that sort of breakthrough away from sort of a bit more of a fringe to well, you know, I don't need, necessarily need or want to be a vegan, but it's more available and accessible and in many ways acceptable culturally to eat way less meat than I used to. I do feel like that's a bit of a change and that's really encouraging.

[00:23:13.360] - Rob

Yeah. And I think I've been trying to think of other things that are sort of table stakes. And by the way, like if no one knows what table stakes means, it just means because in poker you have to put like a certain amount of money down to play the game. So just in case anyone's like what is table stakes. Yeah, I was just trying to think about other stuff that might be table stakes now, like it didn't used to be. And certainly the other thing that's obviously happened this year and it's you know, I think some brands are just approaching this incredibly cynically, but other brands are sort of doing more thoughtful things about it, is that the Black Lives Matter movement and the whole discussion about race in America and beyond America has has caused a lot of brands to rethink the way that they advertise. And like even it's such a weird and sort of. Yeah, like a slightly cynical thing. But, you know, an ad that you would produce in 2005 or whatever might have just a purely white family. There's no person of color in anywhere in the shot. And then, you know, gradually, gradually there's been more representation, which is great. But it's also just sort of also it's kind of like a cynical thing where if Pepsi wants to do an ad, they go like, OK, well, we got the quota now we've got the token black person, etc. And and so that's sort of table stakes thing is like of course, it just cuts both ways, I guess is what I'm trying to get to. And that like there's an outward sort of presentation that companies need to make. And then there's like the true, you know, being true to what actually the consumer really wants, which is to be thoughtful about diversity or to be thoughtful about sustainability. And so I just, I guess I'm really curious to see what really plays out. And I guess the environment that we're in as well is interesting because we've gone through four years where the Trump administration has tried to effectively almost dismantle the EPA. And now we're in an incoming blue administration, which is very likely to want to rebuild and reinforce and bring in a lot more environmental protections and also probably do much more kind of serious things towards, you know, something like a green new deal, although you're probably not allowed to call it that, so something else. And so, and if you're a brand in this situation, like on the one hand, maybe it's a lot easier to sort of talk and walk the sustainability walk, because you're sort of in an environment where the administration is going to be encouraging that, on the other hand, it may encourage companies to do, you know, maybe less because they feel like, oh, OK, I no longer as a company have to do all the sustainability stuff because the government's now got it and I'm not sort of on my own. So I don't know what's going to happen. But I certainly I certainly agree with what you're saying, Michael, in that I think people are sort of starting to go beyond the perception that sustainability is just not using a plastic bag, but more like, oh, OK, let's look at supply chains, let's look at sourcing, let's look at how we're using resources, etc. And that that takes time, I guess, that sophisticated understanding. And maybe this year has allowed us some time to do that. I think also certainly it is, it's interesting as a consumer, when some of these bits of progress get rolled back, you know, if you get delivery from somewhere and they used to use reusable bags like like Fresh Direct actually, it went through a really weird sort of situation where they were using reusable bags. You would send them back and then they stopped it because of COVID. And so they kept on sending people these like reusable bags, but not actually reusing them, which is insane. But I mean, you could sort of see why. Right. Because someone somewhere said, oh, we might be spreading COVID if we accept these containers back. So I don't know. So I think as a consumer, you been sort of front row seats to these sort of changes as well and start to be conscious about that. So. So I don't know what my conclusion is, but I think it certainly is something that like, yeah, in a built up, probably urban area, I guess like sustainability is probably table stakes now. I don't know how that affects the rest of the country and suburbia and everything. I don't know if people's mindsets of the same. What do you think Ina?

[00:27:47.230] - Ina

This is a very interesting, like there's a synergy happening because yesterday I had spoken on an agricultural trends panel for the Future Farmers of America conference, and it was Tyson, Tyson Foods, General Mills and Farm.One on the panel. And so they were all very three different perspectives. And they were agreeing with the same thing. And they they were seeing it differently, though. They were they were saying that before the two other panelists had been at General Mills and Tyson for over twenty five years and previously the sustainability office was its own separate office. And now everyone has a KPI related to sustainability. And if you look at agricultural programs at universities, every single student has a class on sustainability. So we're starting to see that conversation happening in all different levels. So I do think that it's just there's a there's a momentum that's been built. And we're on this roller coaster now.

[00:28:48.060] - Michael


[00:28:48.840] - Rob

Well, can we say, like, we're on the train instead of, I guess it will be a roller coaster? That's why it's unfortunately accurate.

[00:28:59.040] - Michael

Well, I think the thing that, I think the challenge for the industry is that we look at large, we look to large brands like the General Mills and others because they're able to really affect scale. Right. Because they're so big. But very rarely are they going to be the ones that are innovating and pushing. Right. So if you talk to anybody in the sustainability field or any smaller business startup or what have you, where that's core and central to that brand into their business, they're going to be pulling their hair out and saying, you know, given the Nancy Pelosi clap to General Mills and others and say welcome to the party. We've been at this for ages, you know, and you're finally on board. And all of a sudden you've had this come to Jesus moment. My point with all of this is that I think the challenge here is to make sure that smaller brands and start ups that are pushing on some of these more innovative areas are given the room and the support that they need in the food system to be able to, if not succeed and flourish. I mean, I'm not talking about handouts. I'm talking about removing competitive barriers and some of these others. And of course, that's a much larger conversation to be had. But the point being that companies like ours, companies that don't have the legacy of General Mills and others and sort of the market position are the ones that are going to be pushing to affect change more than, more than not. And then at some point it becomes much more mainstream. And companies like General Mills pick up on that. And that's OK. That's just part of the system. So the role for smaller businesses, innovators within the food system can be more important than they are now, I think, especially on these types of topics.

[00:30:49.520] - Ina

All right. The scene that's coming to mind is in Titanic when they were trying to turn the cruise ship. It's like it's so much harder for a larger organization to move the cruise ship, whereas a small boat can move faster.

[00:31:02.940] - Michael

So the question you have to ask yourself is, who are you on the Titanic?

[00:31:10.470] - Ina

All right. Let's talk about relocalization and the trend towards buying local. And I think this is similar to the sustainability trend where it's not just about food, it's about supporting local businesses, especially businesses of color and minority groups. What do you think about this trend and how that's going to impact the way that we consume food this year?

[00:31:33.470] - Rob

Yeah, it's, I mean, it's an interesting thing that's happening. You know, I was reading a comment, I think, from a spokesperson from Unilever who was saying, hey, it's crazy that we didn't do this already. It's crazy that we were sourcing food from the other side of the world when we could have got it right here where we actually do our production. And I think like that kind of re-evaluation, whether it's prompted by COVID or not, it's just good, it's just good business. And certainly, as people have pointed out, like when sort of national or global supply chains somewhat broke down, people did start to reexamine food from their local farmers and rebond with them. And that's been awesome. I've certainly heard a lot of really positive stories about local farms being able to, you know, re-engage their local community. It's, I guess it's really unpredictable to see what happens when we come out of this. You know, if you had a business that happened to be larger pre-COVID and was slimmed down during COVID and was more local, are you going to forego that again to be a large business or make more money, or are you going to stick with this local thing? I think it remains to be seen, but I'm just generally, like, really happy about it in terms of it's encouraging consumers to to rethink things and look locally. And I'm really encouraged as well by it's not quite the same trend, but it's the the stories that certainly a lot of my friends talk about where, you know, they do order from their local restaurants. They order delivery because they know that money is going directly to them. They avoid platforms like GrubHub, Seamless, DoorDash, whatever, and go directly to the restaurant. They make sure they tip generously to the restaurant because they're actually trying to support it as a business. And so that kind of relocalization as well, I think is awesome. And hopefully it's it's actually helped a few businesses stay alive, you know, so so I think it's good. I think it also just remains to be seen what happens next.

[00:33:29.510] - Michael

So a few weeks ago, Rob, we had a conversation where you brought up Goldbelly. Thanks for that, because I spent a couple of hours in that hole.

[00:33:39.830] - Rob

That was the opposite of relocalization.

[00:33:43.100] - Michael

Well, yes. So that's that's sort of part of the question, right? It's it's sort of like, well, in some respects, they are talking about taking local and making it available to everybody and not on the one hand, I'm like, wow, you know, some of the best ribs I've ever had and it was in Austin. And it's very local. Wouldn't I want to get that. You know what better way to spend two hundred dollars. On a whole bunch of completely unsustainable things, which is, you know, I mean, that's just part of the world we live in today with the Internet. We're all so connected that you can literally order, you know, I think one of the crazier things that I saw in there was you could order Korean barbecue from a place in Korea.

[00:34:28.340] - Rob


[00:34:29.420] - Michael

Yeah. Yeah. So I don't know. I'm a little bit torn about that in some ways because on the one hand, the sort of, you know, the food person in me is like, yes, this is amazing. I get local food from the comfort of my own home. But no, this is terrible.

[00:34:44.990] - Rob

I think it's I think everyone should have a quota, like you're allowed to do it once a year or something. That is the like if we were in a centralized economy, a Soviet style system, that you would you would be allowed to order from Singapore once a year. That's okay. Yeah.

[00:35:03.420] - Michael

Yeah, yeah. Ina, what's your what's your favorite local spot?

[00:35:11.420] - Ina

There's this one restaurant in that, we would, my family would go for dim sum almost every Sunday and we had to give ourselves, we had to ration it because you almost got sick of the dim sum after so many weeks in a row. And so there was one month we were like, we're not allowed to, we're not letting ourselves go for the whole month of July.

[00:35:34.760] - Rob

Nice, nice, cool. All right. What's next?

[00:35:39.650] - Ina

Health and immunity. I think that there's been a shift in focus about just our baseline health and using food as a way to protect ourselves from being sick and how do we recover. So I wanted to hear what your thoughts are on this trend towards using food for health and immunity.

[00:36:02.750] - Rob

I think what I'm really interested to find out, and I don't, I certainly haven't seen any studies on this, but I'm really interested to find out how many Americans made significant lifestyle changes during COVID to benefit their overall health and immunity. I think that, like, it's really clear, if you look at your lifestyle contributing to morbidity or lifestyle factors, contributing to morbidity when it comes to COVID, you know, there's a really, really strong correlation between. Diabetes, heart disease, you know, that kind of thing, and COVID illness and morbidity. And I think that, I just want to, I really want to see some great report that comes out in a few months time. That's like, yeah, X percent of Americans did change their diet lifestyle. And it probably had this effect. You know, the other data that seems to be interesting right now is around vitamin D and not being 100 percent clear, if that's like a canary, like vitamin D deficiency being a canary in the coal mine for other deficiencies, or if it specifically is that that definitely has some effect on your likelihood of severe or fatal COVID. So, I don't know. There's all that stuff kind of floating around, but definitely it's never been a better time to kind of look after yourself. It's never been a better time to cook healthy foods and eat healthy foods and consider your immunity as something that you can proactively kind of enforce. I think that over the past, I mean, I don't even know how long, but several decades Americans, I would say British people, given my background, certainly living in Japan, I saw no different. I think a lot of people have got into the situation where they believe that their health or their immunity to certain things is something that they have no control over. It's just a purely random thing. And hopefully this year has prompted people to reconsider and look like long term. You know, what I do every day for the next 20 years has a significant impact on my ability to survive dangerous things or to have a really good quality of life. So, yeah, well, we'll see if this has a long term impact. I would hope so. And I want to see data as soon as it's available on what the impact has been.

[00:38:25.140] - Michael

Yeah, it also seems like I mean, kind of like sustainability, it's like this moment, this last year or so has just made people a lot more aware of it. And I think maybe prior to it a little bit, I mean, I always sort of, moving to the U.S. in my early 20s, I sort of picked up very quickly on kind of this lifestyle here of, you know, OK, so you get sick, you know, you get a shot, you get you know, you can even get an IV of vitamins to get everything you need in there really quickly and that type of thing. Whereas I think in a lot of parts of the world, you eat your nutrition or you eat your your vitamins, you eat all of this, all of this stuff that we know supposed to be good for you and it is supposed to help, whereas here maybe there was a bit more of a culture of, OK, just pop that pill and you'll be OK or we'll deal with it. So again, you know a little bit about awareness and that I've definitely found through my life when I changed my diet pretty dramatically in my early 30s. 'Cause I was going down a pretty bad path with what I was eating and the way that I was eating. It took a while for me, took about six months of just weaning off processed carbs. And that was actually pretty difficult to do for the first probably month or so. But after that, it completely changed my outlook on the relationship of the food that you eat and how you feel and functionally what you're able to do. I was still sort of, you know, a very sort of a competitive athlete at that stage. And it really changed how I was performing. And hopefully, you know, maybe there is some aspects of that coming out of the pandemic that, you know, people do feel better. Maybe they're doing smoothies five days a week and they're feeling better about it.

[00:40:29.520] - Rob

It's not a long term solution, but yeah.

[00:40:34.230] - Ina

Yeah, I definitely understand that feeling, Michael, that you were saying, like, I was a competitive athlete, like as as an athlete also you feel the difference when you have a nourished meal versus not in your ability to perform. And I think that even now, like Rob, what you were saying about like what we're doing now impacts us 20 years from now. Like I think about that when I'm running. Sometimes I really hate running and but I'm thinking like, you know, but in 20 years, you're going to thank yourself for this run. 

[00:41:04.530] - Rob

Yeah, make sure you do.

[00:41:05.400] - Ina

Yeah. I think that this trend, it asks a great question at the end, you know, what can this food, drink, lotion supplement, et cetera, do for me? How can it help protect me? Do you think about that just generally in the products that you consume? Like do you think about what its impact to protect you is?

[00:41:23.340] - Rob

I mean, I think there's two ways of looking at that. As a consumer, I tend to look at it in terms of like whole plant food. And I go like, OK, what am I cooking today? Am I getting enough of this and that? And I but I never expect to get it from something with a label on it, really. You know, if something personally if something if I walk past a store and then there's a bunch of things and they say, oh, it'll do this, it'll do that, that's not for me. But but it certainly is for a lot of consumers. And I think that the, you know, the Holy Grail would be that, yes, people get more concerned about this and also the products improve to actually meet their expectations. But I think what we may end up with is just more marketing around it, like, oh, this has blueberry extract. So there's like zero point one percent of one blueberry in this, you know, drink. And that's supposed to give you all of the, you know, cancer avoiding benefits, all of the antioxidant benefits of eating loads of blueberries every day in your diet. And it's just not the same. And that's why I worry that this thing starts to fall apart. You know, marketing doesn't meet reality is my worry.

[00:42:36.030] - Ina

Yeah, that's a really good point. If the label has to tell you that, maybe there's should be some doubt.

[00:42:42.000] - Rob

Yeah. Eat a real thing. And that, you know, a lot of I mean, I don't, yeah. You  could talk about this for hours, but like. Yeah, yeah.

[00:42:50.940] - Michael

Well I think I know the challenge with, you know, doing something now where you get the benefits of the twenty years from now, you never know. Right. I mean I could say, well, you know, I was very active as, as in my youth, but at forty, and at forty five now I have arthritis in both knees, so maybe I shouldn't have run so much. Right. So so it's a little bit of that I guess of of what you don't know. And what's really interesting, and so this is sort of, you know, part of my journey, you know, coming through my 20s and 30s, just being extremely active, but then hitting this point now in my 40s, where I'm like, OK, well, nobody told me the effects of all of that and nobody told me, you know, how I should manage activity, nutrition, lifestyle, all of that, in today's environment. Right. So you can look back and say, well, people that, you know, I mean, of course, a lot of people have gone through this in life, but not with the technology that we have now, not with the knowledge that we have now. So how do you do that? How do you take all of these ideas that are kind of in vogue now and based on research now? And they can say, well, this will help you? Well, we don't actually know. But and I'm not saying that that you should embrace it either way or not embrace it. It's just it's just where we find ourselves in history. And I think that's really interesting.

[00:44:23.390] - Rob

Yeah. Yeah.

[00:44:24.770] - Ina

Those are really good points. All right, so trend number five, we're really in an interesting point in our world, democratization is definitely a trend that we're going to see in 2021, especially with a lot of the Black Lives Matter protests last year that we saw. There's been a lot of choice that people have been making about supporting black owned businesses, minority businesses, Robert or Michael. What do you think about this trend?

[00:44:56.410] - Rob

Well, I think I mean, if you, if you think about it as an overall thing, it's certainly an aspiration for a lot of people in the country. I think that certainly if you look at the how would you describe it? You know, white middle class America, I guess, I know that there are a lot of people who have kind of woken up to this idea of like, oh, yeah, OK. Actually, if I want to change this system that I think is wrong, I need to be an active participant in reducing inequality. And I can do that as a consumer. In some ways I can do that as someone who donates to causes. I can do that as someone who puts their time towards it. I can do that by voting. And so there are all these ways and certainly the consumer approach of buying from a black owned business or the donation approach of donating to a food bank, for instance, is something that I think a lot more people have thought about this year than than in previous years. And that's fantastic. Obviously, the problem is the need in terms of food banks has never been greater. There's never been more people who are without food. If you look at New York City, like the number of people visiting food banks has gone up immensely. And so I don't, again, I don't know what to think about this fully, but I do know there's a generation of people who now have this on their minds and have this on their minds is something that is an effect of inequality. And that can only be a good thing because I think people can put more resources behind it. I think that if you look at the fundamental sort of structural issues that we're dealing with, you know, donating to a food bank is a great thing to do. But it isn't you know, it's not addressing the root cause, the root cause is inequality has gone back for generations. And so that is something that has to be dealt with through the political system, I think. But again, we're seeing good things there. So it's again, I always look at these things that go, OK, there's something is going to happen on the surface. You look at an app like Eat Okra, which is an app for finding black owned restaurants in your area. And that's an app that I think got really in a great way, like a lot of push this year and got caught in front of a lot of people. And that's awesome. And now that's part of like a lot of people, sort of everyday habits, like finding places. And I think that's great. And so I love seeing innovation like that. We just bought cookies from Partake, which is a black owned business invested in by Jay-Z and Rihanna. It's a vegan cookie business actually out of New York, which we only realized after we ordered the cookies. But yeah. So there's things like that with is people getting more publicity and stuff. So I mean, I obviously think it's great and I just want it to continue. And I think hopefully that, you know, the more people just build that into their everyday practice, the more it just becomes instinctual. And then, you know, as a consumer, certainly those behaviors become embedded. How long it takes for the political system to reverse some of these trends that we're trying to fight against. Who knows? But but there's good things happening. I feel good about it.

[00:48:09.160] - Ina

Michael, what do you think?

[00:48:10.810] - Michael

Yeah, I think very similarly to Rob and you know, again, back to kind of the sustainability thing, I think the level of awareness that's happening, and the types of conversations that are that are happening I think are really healthy. You know, Rob, to your point, it's sort of the political, there's systemic problems that need to be solved. And, you know, hopefully there's a path towards that in a way that's more equitable to everybody. But then there's also cultural things that we can do. And I think that's what we're seeing in the media. That's what we're seeing with new entrepreneurs that are that are trying to do different things. And, you know, the things that, the objection that maybe people might have resorted to in the past, and this applies to sustainability as well, is well it's really hard. It's a hassle. You know, it's so much work. And the good thing is with with apps like Eat Okra, it's making it as simple as possible in our culture. Right. So if you think about it, you know, awareness is one thing. The next thing is then to take the action. Right. We're making it as easy as possible now. And pretty soon it's going to be hopefully as easy as anything else. I mean, in many places where, for example, where I live and probably New York City, I mean, convenience isn't  a question, right? You can't make that argument anymore. And there are maybe places in the United States where you still could and certain places around the world. But for a lot of us that live in cities and even in the suburbs surrounding cities, that's no longer a problem. So then becomes a cultural conversation. And it's good. You know, it's good. I think it's healthy. And at the end of the day, listen, you've got more options for delicious food. I don't see how that's a bad thing.

[00:50:14.530] - Rob

Never a bad thing. Never a bad thing.

[00:50:16.830] - Ina

And what I like about this trend also is that it's revealed what is actually within our realm of control and how much power there is. And that, of course, we can do all of these things like purchase from black owned business, and it's not going to solve the systemic issues. But at least we have more awareness about what is within our realm of control and how much power there is in that. So that's what I'm really excited about this trend. And the more that we exercise that kind of power, the more change we'll see.

[00:50:47.050] - Rob


[00:50:48.010] - Ina

Yeah. For our listeners that are following along on the articles, we're actually going to transition to the New York Times article. We're going to talk about a trend that we're going to see meal kits from chefs. Traditionally, meal kits have gotten a bad rep for the excess packaging, the subscription models. And when the pandemic hit, they actually gained popularity again and so much that we're actually going to start seeing some of these meal kits curated by chefs. Rob and Michael, what do you think about this?

[00:51:22.060] - Rob

Yeah, I mean, I think I guess what we're finding is the meal kit is like a format, right? And then anyone can participate in that format and the natural progression is chefs to do that. I think also the thing that happened is a lot of restaurants started to sort of do meal kits as well as a way to make money and have an audience during COVID. So this is sort of a natural progression. I think if you look now online at the number of meal kit companies. I know. Ina, you were looking at some last week, you know, plant based meal kits. There's a lot, right? There's a lot of these now. And I think that once you start to look at them, you know, after you've looked at, you know, you look at one plant based meal kit delivery company and you go, OK, all right, fair enough. You look at another one. All right. OK, fair enough. After you've looked at four or five, all of which deliver nationally, all of which have pretty similar sort of meals in the offering, you start to go like, OK, there's not a lot of differentiation here, you know. And so in what's already like a crowded marketplace, obviously the barrier to entry is not very high. You know, to set up a meal kit delivery service, I think you can sort of probably pay a consultant a few thousand dollars and they'll just get you ready to go within a couple of months. You know, now it's time for differentiation. And exactly as you've had to have with restaurants, if you walk around the East Village, you know, looking for somewhere to eat, every restaurant is trying to do something different. You know, they're trying to stand out. And that's what we're getting in this sort of new space where the meal kit is like a standard platform. It's time for people to stand out now.

[00:53:07.400] - Michael

I think it's great, I mean, it obviously a lot of this is coming out of the pandemic and where the restaurant industry is coming out of. I think what's really fun is just the expression of creativity, right, that you're seeing from some of the restaurants. You know, so they're in the New York Times article. They're citing the four hundred and seventy five dollars roast duck package from Eleven Madison Park, which, you know, on its surface...

[00:53:34.622] - Rob

It's a standard Tuesday lunchtime, isn't it really? You know?

[00:53:37.850] - Michael

Yeah. Just so absurd. But, you know, if you think of that industry, again, it's sort of you know, some of that is about food and particularly, especially for a restaurant like Eleven Madison Park. It's about the experience. Right? It's they're selling you an experience when you go for a meal there. The food is part of, the food is a vehicle for the expression of that that experience. I think it's really fun to see that creativity emerge in these meal kits. And you know what what that's all about. I guess if it's a question of, you know, does it stay, does it have staying power? Does it sort of, you know, replace restaurants in its entirety? I mean, who knows? But I would hope not. I still think restaurants are pretty wonderful places. And I really hope that after everything with the pandemic, they come back in ways that are meaningful in our lives. But again, it's about access to me and creativity. And hopefully there's a place in it in the home where where that will continue. Ina, are you a meal kit person? Are you a subscriber?

[00:54:52.010] - Ina

I'm not a meal kit person. I subscribe to Misfits Market, but they're not really a meal kit there. They rescue food that would have otherwise been wasted. And then it's kind of like a puzzle that you have to put together every week. It was like, all right, what am I going to do with all this? And it ends up and I do have to supplement some ingredients from the grocery store just to make sure that it ends up being a full meal. But it's more of like a it's a puzzle rather than a complete meal. And I don't know if I would ever buy a meal kit. I'm there's just that the idea of like having to just work with what I have is more enticing to me with the Misfits Market. And I don't know, it just, it's not, it doesn't feel as enticing to me as, you know, doing all the research in the other meal kits and plant based delivery services. And it didn't grab me then.

[00:55:45.200] - Rob

Yeah. I mean, obviously this meal kits and then there's meal kits. There's the EMP one, you know, which is, I'm sure a fantastic meal and amazing ingredients and very, very, very carefully prepared and and probably as much fun to sort of put together as it is to eat it. And then I think there's the other end of the scale where it's basically a TV dinner, right. Like that. You're kind of sliding into your smart oven, you know, that supposedly cooks it better than you could. I think ideally there's a space for everything. Certainly I'm sort of pretty much on on on the same pages as you Ina. Like the idea of a traditional meal kit is not something that really appeals to me at all. I don't need the expertise. I can buy the ingredients. I'm really worried about the packaging implications of most of these meal kits. But I do think there's a space for something where, you know, it's components of a salad or it's some easy way to, like, bring together some portioned ingredients, some of them a semi prepared. I think the thing that's, I guess, most exciting for me is if there's, and you can sort of get this by buying jars of these types of things, but if there are some elements in there that would normally take a long time to prepare, this isn't a good example. But like maybe a pickle, a fermented item in there. Right. That, you know, you're not going to bother doing yourself or something if there's a few items in there in one recipe that you could kind of bring together and ease in an easy way, I'd quite like that. But I'm guessing I'm kind of in a little bit of a niche that wanting something so specific. So we'll see. But it's, I think it's interesting to have this as a sort of platform. It's like a standard thing now where you don't need to explain to a consumer what a meal kit is, like they know that now. So now we can experiment and do do new things. And that's a cool place to be.

[00:57:47.500] - Ina

Yeah, good point. Our last trend that we're going to talk through is labels worth reading. So, of course, there are there's government required information that has to be on every single food label. But there's also other things that we're starting to see, like companies showing that they're a minority group, that this company is a minority group, and I'll put that on the label or the environmental footprint of the product. What do you think about this trend in the way that labels are evolving?

[00:58:19.870] - Rob

I think it's completely predictable and natural and good. And this is exactly what's happening. It's not it's not even like a production. It's just like this is already happening. And certainly for us as a company, I think when you buy from us, it's very, very clear what we stand for and what we do. And it's sort of, you know, we've been thinking about how that message comes across the delivery on same day of harvest, obviously pesticide free, kind of nasty free, New York City only. We only deliver locally, this kind of stuff. So that is like so intrinsic to what we do that it's almost like I don't even know if it's on the label anymore. It's just sort of like it just is. And I think that this is just totally natural. You know, people want stuff like this. People expect this. People are suspicious of brands that do not have this. I think that what you're going to see as a big effect of this is more and more of big brands like Unilever, Procter and Gamble, PepsiCo, trying to tap into that kind of authentic like made here by real people kind of thing. And it's really hard for them to do that. They can do that in some ways by investing in, you know, young companies and sort of buying that. They can try to foster some of that by themselves, you know, but it's really, really hard. And so authenticity and honesty in that label is is tough to get, and it's only becoming more and more important.

[00:59:51.230] - Michael

Yeah, there's the, I don't know, every time I think of labels, I think of Dr. Broadeners Soap and their labels because I think they've hit the high point of how much information you can put on a label. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I completely agree with you. And there's, there is that sort of sense. I mean, it's not just about awareness, but also this reinforcing nature. I think some people in the marketing industry call it permission. Right. It's sort of you know, it's not necessarily the reason why I buy it, but, buy this product, let's call, let's say, sustainability, or that it was produced by a company that's owned by women or people of color. But it's so, you know, every time I eat it, it sort of makes me feel like I'm doing a good thing or every time I choose that product, that makes me feel like I'm doing a good thing. And, you know, you could argue as a purist, well, then, you know, that's that's kind of phony. But then on the other hand, to things, hey, it worked, right? That's human nature to a degree. So it's good. That's great.

[01:01:00.690] - Rob

Yeah. Oh. So I just it just made me think, not to interrupt you Ina, but like, it made me think, you know, if we look at this list of things that we've been talking about in a way, you know, sustainability, relocalization, health and immunity, democratization, labels worth reading, you know, I think the the bigger trend that's very obvious to me is just more and more burden placed on the consumer to, like, make the right ethical choice, like every time you buy a thing. And and I guess, you know, if you think about the market, my my mental association with, like, 80s marketing, which is when I was growing up, was like it was all about just pleasure. It was like, OK, you're going to drink this Pepsi and, you know, the condensation is going to drift down you and you're going to feel amazing. And it's just like it's just pure joy. Pleasure. Right. Whereas now what we're really talking about these trends is like as a consumer, you're like walking down the virtual aisle and going like, oh, is it better to support, you know, a women-owned business or is it better to eat a vegan thing? And like and as a consumer being forced to make that an ethical choice every time you buy something? And that's hard. I mean, that's a lot of expectation to put on people. But also, I think it's sort of, uh, there's a convenience to that in that people think, oh, if I buy the right toilet paper, that maybe I don't even need to worry about my political habits or whether I donate to a charity or anything like that because I bought the right toilet paper. And I, you know, I went through the mental anguish of deciding for forty five minutes which toilet paper to buy. So that is my decision for the day. I am mentally exhausted, you know, I'm done. And I do think there's a genuine risk of that. And I think that if you look at the actual impact you're able to make as a consumer, like yes, you can have impact, but it's not as much as, you know, maybe donating one hundred dollars specifically to a cause or going and spending your day helping a cause or voting differently. It's not as big as that. And so we've got to find some way of, like, weighing the effectiveness of these things. I'm quite into the whole effective altruism movement of like trying to make sure if you donate a dollar to your charity that it's the most effective way that dollar can be spent. And so I'm just trying to you know, when I look at some of these consumer choices, I think, OK, like, are we spending our time agonizing about the right things eventually? You know, that's my concern.

[01:03:35.300] - Michael

Yeah, yeah, I think that's a really good point. I think it's about choice. I think it's about choice and awareness. And, you know, I think that that there's also a big generational aspect to it, you know, to expect, like, you know, our parents necessarily to, you know, having spent whatever it is, 60, 70, 80 years of their life living a certain way. And then, you know, for us to be wagging our fingers at them saying you shouldn't choose, you know, this terrible whatever that you just bought at the Safeway, I mean, it's a bit sort of, that doesn't sit well with me. I think it's unrealistic and unfair. But we are at, it does feel like we are at this sort of cusp of a pretty big generational shift in how we're thinking about this, our relationship with brands and what's important. But yeah, and to your point, Rob, about advertising in the past, the minute you said that the image I had in my head was there was a cigarette brand called Virginia Slims. I don't know if you're familiar with them, but they they used to sponsor the women's tennis.

[01:04:50.390] - Rob


[01:04:50.760] - Michael

And that never made sense to me. Yeah. How does a cigarette brand sort of associate with competitive sport anyway?

[01:05:03.870] - Rob

Yeah, cigarettes and sports have a long history. I mean, you know, Formula One in the UK was always like John Player Special, which was this is don't that President Hedges did a lot of hedges. Right, like all of that. And, you know, again, maybe I'm overthinking this, but it makes me think about the political situation as well, because, like, I think if you look at a lot of politics right on the left, there's a lot of burden on the person to, like, do the right thing. You know, the people like pushing, like effectively shaming some portion of the American public, you know, and I think there's a sort of alternative, which is to go like, no, you know what? I'm going to have the burger. I'm going to have the Coke. And I'm not allowed to because, you know, this company is telling me I've had it all my life. Like, why should I feel bad for, like, having a Coke, you know? And I have a lot of sympathy for that. Like, you know, people especially this year. Right, with the comfort eating or whatever, you know, they deserve that moment maybe. So I don't know. Ina, I feel like you've been on the verge of saying something for about five minutes.

[01:06:13.120] - Ina

I'm trying but I'm trying to form a thought. But I just feel overwhelmed because it's really it really is like this balance or there's a tension between, oh, I have a lot of power as a consumer. But then also does everything have to have so much meaning and like just every decision now have so much attached to it. Can I just how can I just be present in one decision and just enjoy it? And so how do you balance your whole life in, like, all of the micro decisions that you're making? Like all the decisions that I made this morning, like, am I going to buy bread from this from this stall at the Union Square Farmers Market or this stall? And like did I ask all the questions about like, is it aligned with my values? I'm like, can I just have a loaf of bread?

[01:06:58.170] - Rob


[01:06:59.990] - Michael

Pringles are delicious. Well, it's also we're having a very narrow...

[01:07:05.360] - Rob

I love how Michael is sponsored by Pringles. And the podcast isn't.

[01:07:09.080] - Michael

I'm not, but I should be. We're having a pretty narrow sort of conversation to socio economically. I mean, you know, there's a whole spread about the amount of privilege that you can have to eat clean. Right. I mean, and I'm curious what you guys think about that. The point being that, you know, there are those that are less fortunate in more difficult economic situations, the poor there and, you know, what have you. And there's long been an argument that, you know, this eating clean stuff's really expensive. And basically it's coming from a place of privilege.

[01:07:49.460] - Rob

Elitist? Yeah

[01:07:49.730] - Michael

Yeah. It's very elitist. What do you guys think of that?

[01:07:52.760] - Ina

Oh, I have a lot of thoughts on this because I was just talking about this with my partner Mike over the weekend. So when I was a kid growing up, we were really frugal, modest living when you're growing up. And my mom would clean the floors with old t shirts that we grew out of or that had a hole in it or something like that. And this year, what I'm trying to do with 2021, I'm like, OK, let me see how long I can go without a product and then to really assess how much I need it. And so, you know, ten days ago I ran out of paper towels. I'm like, OK, I'm going to try to figure out what I can do with not buying paper towels. And I ended up going back to what I did as a kid. I cut up an old T-shirt that was really pill-y and. Was I could not wear it anymore, so I was like, OK, I'm going to do it again. And it was a moment for me. I was like, this is something that I had shame for as a kid because I associate it with not having enough money. And now it all came back full circle. So Mike and I were having this conversation about who is sustainability for and is it really for the entire world, because climate change is something that's happening over the entire world. Is it for people in higher economic? I don't have the answer, but I'm still using an old T-shirt for my paper towels.

[01:09:08.150] - Rob

Thats a nice story. Yeah, I know. I mean, I don't know. You're completely right. Like we have, or some of us have a luxury of choice about choosing the more eco friendly laundry detergent. And then someone else is literally trying to get enough to wash one load of laundry and that's it. And if you go to the other side of things, it's like one of the problems with plastic waste in Southeast Asia is large companies offering product in sachets, because that's literally the only way people can afford it. If they want to wash their clothes, they can't afford a big tub of tablets or whatever. And so that plastic is less likely to be recycled. And so, yeah, it impacts everything. I mean, I guess personally as a consumer, when I come across that kind of thing. Well, personally, as an individual, when I come across that kind of thing, I just, I kind of go like, OK, well, what do I have the patience for? What am I able to do? Is it worth me worrying about this for half an hour, or would it be better if I'm going to donate money this month, you know, to do that instead? And that being much more impactful. But, yeah, I think that it's important to just always have that caveat, I guess, on every conversation that we have like this, which is like, yeah, of course it's a privilege to have the choice, you know, it's a privilege to be able to make that decision. And I think that's important. 

[01:10:39.710] - Ina

From all of the trends that we talk through, is there anything that you're thinking is going to impact or reinforces or changes what we're doing at Farm one?

[01:10:54.300] - Rob

I think we're in the middle of a lot of these, you know, we're in the middle of a lot of these hopefully not flavor fatigue because we're all about flavor and unusual flavors and everything. So hopefully that's one that is just not happening or it's just happening, but it doesn't affect us. You know, sustainability is something we talk about everyday. We make choices every day. Ina and I were talking literally this morning about the cap on a bottle of a thing that we're going to give out as a sample and whether, what we should do with the cap and, you know, all of these all of these trends like relocalization, you know. Yeah, I could talk about any of them, but I think that for us as a company firmly, of course, we're trying to respond to what people actually want, but also trying to do things, you know, because we have power as a company to maybe have a bigger impact than any given individual. So yeah, absolutely. And I think that we're really curious as a company as to how these trends play out and what the end of 2021 looks like. And I'm sure a list like this will look quite different, you know, in 12 months time. So I'm really curious as to see to see what happens.


Why this I think as a business, let's not lose sight of the fact that it gives us a competitive advantage in some ways to embrace this, to make this part of what we do, the products that we are selling and the way in which we're doing it. And, you know, there's certainly I mean, that's what the trends are reinforcing, are that there's a market for it or there appears to be, I should say, there's an audience for it.


What we're learning now is that there appears to be a market for it. And, you know, I guess it'll be interesting, maybe not next year, but in the years to come, you know, does the measure will be is this mainstream or, you know, are we sort of, you know, on the fringes of it or, you know, are we are we just pushing on something that will always stay sort of, you know, quote on quote niche, or does this just become the way of the world?

[01:13:05.310] - Rob

Yeah, we'll see.

[01:13:08.490] - Ina

Thank you both. This was such a great chat for our listeners. If there was any trend or anything that you heard that is resonating with you, feel free to let us know in the comments. Be sure to like and subscribe to this video. And we will see you all next week.

[01:13:24.330] - Rob

Thanks, everyone.

[01:13:25.200] - Michael

Thanks, everyone.