Anything that involves transparency with food, I vote “yes” for, and I agree that the base of customers who want to know more about where their food was sourced is growing. I don’t know enough about the Prodal brand, though, to know if this transparency aligns well with the rest of their story [and unfortunately, their site seems to be down right now!]. We know that their production process sets them apart — are they striving for authenticity via ingredient choices? Or are they going for high quality, low-cost pizza by eliminating labor costs? The former sets them up nicely for a digital supply chain story; the latter, I’m not convinced.
I’m with Cashflow here — this question calls for a Probability Tree! In all seriousness, you are right that Rassini and other global manufacturers need to be weighing their options and preparing a response for a series of probable outcomes. In the meantime, regardless of the risks posed by the political sphere, maximizing operational efficiency via investments in AI will continue to grow in importance as a means of staying competitive in this industry.
I agree with the commentary that, for Walmart, price trumps all (no pun intended). I’m confident that the majority of Walmart’s products – especially electronics, toys and clothing – will never be able to be manufactured in the US at the same price. On the other hand, I’m less confident about the extent to which Walmart’s core customers will pay more for products made in America. Therefore, any increase to COGS would have to hit Walmart’s margins, as opposed to causing price hikes — a choice I’d be shocked to see.
Finally, as a global organization, Walmart will need to think critically about how it defines “local,” especially if it is going to use this tagline as a marketing tool. I would bet that, as an organization, it will reap more benefits from isolationists from creating more jobs at the storefront level for Americans versus sourcing American made products.
I’m thrilled to see how digitization has injected a dose of transparency into this industry, and am with ELH that there is more that US Foods can do with the data it is generating. In addition to the point ELH raised around minimizing waste via the inventory management functionality, I wonder if there is an opportunity to introduce dynamic pricing as a means of determining real value. This notion reminds me of a recent Planet Money podcast episode, The Free Food Market, in which – as a means of better distributing food among food banks across the country – they created an auction-like market in which individual directors could place bids on items.
What struck me about this essay is how reactive (vs. proactive) the DoD’s response to climate change within its supply chain appears to be. Which raises the question — should we expect the DoD to set the standards and exert influence over how its suppliers manufacture their products? Beyond this, will the US government allow the DoD to pay a premium for products produced sustainably? The answer to the second question, almost assuredly is “no”, as taxpayers would insist these funds get redirected to other defense and national priorities. Given the impact climate change is bound to have on DoD’s operations globally, it seems to me that in order to have a leg to stand on when lobbying Congress, there does need to be a spotlight shown on how the DoD selects suppliers and the criteria it uses.
I enjoyed reading your essay, Oliver – thanks for sharing! I’ll add extra emphasis to the importance, in my opinion, of bolstering the relationship with suppliers. As they are the ones most at risk due to climate fluctuations, it would seem to me that ADM would want to be aware of their progress each season – and make strategic investments that are in line with maximizing crop yields. For that reason, I was surprised to see prioritization put towards health/nutrition versus sustainability or technology that can maximize yields (as we read about in the Indigo case).