Huddle Notes from March 1st, 2021

The huddles this month focused on climate change impacts on communities, food prices going up around the world, and the niche areas of our industry. Listen to the recording here.

Talking Points

  • Dry run from climate change – Texas gets hit with snow!
    • This time of the year most Texans have their crops in the ground… most of the farms in Texas got froze out. Irrigation pumps and pipes broke due to freezing temperatures.
    • Leaves on the trees weighed the tree branches down even more. Branches down and no water made it impossible for people to get to work, including grocery stores, so there was no food in the stores, nor were most places open.
    • Playing devil’s advocate… Is local a strategy for resilience? Texas power grid failed; it was a locally functioning power grid… If Texas relied on local food to feed the communities, it would be in a tough spot right now with everything freezing. A supply chain coming from one place could be very risky due to climate. What does a resilient food system look like in the future?
      • There’s a need for a combination of local but the ability to connect to a larger system if need be
  • Businesses who pivoted to online sales during COVID times
    • At FFI, we have seen a few of our client’s sales increase up to 400%
      • Gained significant amounts of new clients
      • Planning for a drop in sales but not much, maybe 20%
    • Mainstream grocery retailers still haven’t figured out a supply chain to maintain delivery/click and pick-up orders so they’re losing money on every order
  • Velocities in stores impacting food – brands are still struggling
    • Still hard to get meetings with a buyer in a grocery store
    • People aren’t spending a lot of time in stores, the discovery of new brands still isn’t happening


  • Food prices are going up considerately around the world
    • In the US, 3.5% increase in food prices in January of 2021 compared to January 2020
    • Increases around the world: India 10%, Brazil 20%, Argentina 80%, Zimbabwe 600%
      • Climate change issues: Southern Hemisphere is having a considerable drought (South America)
      • Governments: Wheat harvest in Russia was poor, so they’re restricting exports and in parts of the world where governments are failing, we’re seeing extraordinary increases in prices
      • Shipping issues: container shipping cost has gone up 400% and air freight has gone up 100% in the last year due to COVID-19
        • Higher cost of goods sold due to increase pricing in shipping to get packaging (ex: glass bottles and jars)
  • The Freezer Section Revival – Up 20% in stores and 75% online in 2020
  • Did you know? 35 million people in the US have two refrigerators!

Tips & Next Steps

  • Thoughts for the future: Reaching out and speaking to our own communities about food, finding out what they want, and giving it to them to gain brand loyal customers
  • Value-Added Producer Grants (VAPG) – attractive for farmers because it covers working capital
    • Deadline has been extending + the total award pot has increased significantly
      • Learn more about the updates and how FFI and JDG Consulting can help applicants here
  • FFI Upcoming Trainings & Workshops for your clients
    • Scenario Planning: three-day immersion training April 6th – 8th. Free. More info
    • MVP Series Food Safety and GFSI Planning Workshop: Thursday, April 15th, 2021. Free. More info.
    • Raising Equity: three-day immersion training April 20th – 22nd. $500; scholarships available. More info.
    • Brand Strategy Fundamentals: Three-day immersion training April 27th – 29th. $500 – scholarships available. More info.
    • Farm: Meat Processing Boot Camp: Part 1: May 6th & 7th + Part 2: June 17th & 18 $500 for all four days for two people from one business to attend together. Scholarship opportunities available – More info.

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