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dekantā’s Latest Karuizawa Bottling Reaches New Height of Acclaim
Luxury Japanese whisky retailer dekantā is taking its private bottlings to new levels with its latest collection of rare Karuizawa single malt - at the intersection of fine art and whisky. Award winning independent bottler dekantā has partnered with prominent Karuizawa based artist David Stanley Hewett, and a number of expert craftspeople from across Japan, to create its most recent collection of exceedingly rare Karuizawa single malt called Acclaim - The Karuizawa Whisky Stage. Due to go on sale this Friday, the three bottle set of different expressions from 1999-2000 vintage Karuizawa (US$50,000; all 61% ABV; 70cl) is housed inside a Wajima Lacquerware cabinet featuring 24 carat gold leaf layering, and world class bottle art, hand painted by David Hewett. Embodying themes concurrent throughout Hewett’s previous works, this collection celebrates the code of the Samurai and Japan’s martial history by depicting courage, honor and discipline. Closed since the millennium, the old Karuizawa distillery has seen rising interest in its single malt whisky since it has become increasingly scarce, developing a cult-like following and renowned legacy. With a studio and gallery mere miles from the original distillery, Hewett has been living in Japan for 30 years and has trained under Japanese master potters, screen makers and painters. Most well known for his use of gold leaf, Hewett has painted the ceilings of ancient Shinto Shrines and completed works for the US embassy in Tokyo, The Ritz Carlton, The Okura Hotel and many public and private collections around the world. In 2018, Hewett's painting: 'Majime' was given by the First Lady of Japan, Aike Abe, as a state gift from Japan to the United States to the visiting First Lady of the US - the painting is now housed in the US National Archives in Washington. Artist and designer of Acclaim David Hewett said: “dekantā has made huge efforts to engage Japanese artists for their projects - their team really understands Japan and wants to support Japanese craftsmanship through their unique offerings. “Every step of this 18 month long process required minute attention to detail and partnerships with many craftspeople. It has been a wonderful journey seeing those initial sketches turn into a work of art in the real world that I can touch and feel that is probably the most gratifying part of the process.” With the view to advocating Japanese artistry at the forefront of creating Acclaim, Hewett spent a year travelling the country to work with skilled craftspeople for the glassware and Wajima cabinet. The whisky collection’s ‘stage’ was designed by Hewett in his Karuizawa studio and the lacquer was applied by Taya Lacquer Studio in Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, over the course of eight months. The Taya Studio dates back over 200 years to 1818 when Taya Kihei began his craftsmanship of Wajimanuri. Hewett commissioned an expert glassware maker in Japan to create bespoke bottles based on the traditional men’s Kimono with strong soldier-like shoulders. He then applied his artwork to each bottle, before fitting them with handmade, lacquered stoppers that feature the Hewett family crest. Founder and director of dekantā Makiyo Masa said: “Working with an artist who has dedicated decades of his life to celebrating Japan’s culture and history through his work has been an honor for me and my team. “The Acclaim whisky stage truly is the perfect meeting of luxury Japanese whisky and fine art, making it an incredible collectible piece. I am delighted we have been able to work with David Hewett to bring such a special whisky collection to our clients.” Acclaim- The Karuizawa Whisky Stage is a limited edition of only 150 bottles, comprising 50 sets of three bottles each, available only at dekantā.com. Bottles will go on sale on Friday 14 April 2023 at 11pm JST [2pm UTC] and will begin shipping immediately.
D&D Coffee Club have harnessed the fire to launch the first officially licensed D&D themed coffee blends
Fans of Dungeons & Dragons can now curate their own brewing experience, with the launch of four new quality coffee blends. The D&D world has never been more popular and has enjoyed continued hype from television series such as Stranger Things and The Big Bang Theory. This will be a big hit with Kaeth lovers (that's coffee to those who are unfamiliar with the D&D universe) as each, and every blend is freshly brewed with top quality flavor notes suitable for adventurers! - About Dungeons & Dragons Dungeons & Dragons has enchanted fans for nearly 50 years with innovative gameplay, allowing friends and family to adventure in fantasy worlds together. The World’s Greatest Roleplaying Game boasts more than 50 million fans to date who have enjoyed the franchise through video games, novels, comics, roleplaying games, and accessories. A major feature film produced by Paramount Pictures and eOne, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is poised to captivate audiences in 2023, and fans can experience D&D online right now through easy-to-use tools on D&D Beyond. Dungeons & Dragons Coffee Club has stayed true to its roots by representing the mystical creatures in D&D through its coffee blend names. - Owlbear Blend Owlbears are ferocious forest predators that also have an unexpected sweetness that allows them to be tamed. Much like owlbears, this nutty Colombian arabica comes from mountainous forests. It presents an unexpected mix of earthy notes with fierce orange tang. - Beholder Brew This brew is dark and powerful. We might say that it makes you as alert and energized as a beholder using all ten of its eye stalks to watch out for intruders. This traditional Italian roast, created with South American arabica, provides a smooth, chocolatey taste. The addition of Vietnamese robusta adds a crisp, dark cherry palate to boost your focus and sharpen your senses. - Dragonfire Roast Red dragons guard their treasure hoards with gouts of fire. One such treasure is this: a strong, single origin Brazilian arabica roasted dark by dragonfire. Anyone brave enough to snatch it from the hoard will taste notes of bittersweet cocoa (and a slight hint of a toasted adventurer). - Displacer Beast Decaf Displacer beasts bend light around themselves to appear as if they’re standing several feet away from their true location. (That’s bad news for their favorite prey: adventurers.) Much like its namesake, Displacer Beast Decaf plays a clever trick on the senses. With 99.9% of the caffeine removed by the Swiss Water method, this decaf blend has all the flavor of regular coffee with none of the jitters. Its South American arabica blend roars in with bold chocolate flavors that will leave you dazzled – but hopefully not devoured. This launch brings something refreshing to the world of Dungeons & Dragons. Players can now congregate to embark on their favorite role-playing game adventures, whilst sharing and enjoying D&D themed coffee. The thing that keeps most D&D players hooked is the anticipation of what’s to come, so they can now immerse themselves even further into the experience with a pick-me-up themed around their favorite monsters. That’s what’ll keep them coming back. The brand-new coffee brand will be launching first in the UK, with availability in North America to follow. The versatile range will roll out with a choice of whole bean and ground coffee, expanding to further products such as concentrate, capsules and brew bags. D&D Coffee Club will also launch with a subscription and rewards system for members, where loyalty will be rewarded with discounts on merch and exciting opportunities within the Dungeons & Dragons franchise.
Purdue agriculture experts provide insights into global food and economic security crises
With the war in Ukraine entering its seventh month and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic still being experienced, growing challenges threaten the world’s economic and food security. Purdue University College of Agriculture experts in the areas of food and economic security and energy share their perspectives on these critical issues. Gebisa Ejeta, World Food Prize laureate and professor of agronomy, is an expert in the areas of food security, international agriculture and global development. He has served at the highest levels of science and policy advisory, including as special adviser to the USAID administrator, science envoy of the U.S. State Department and as a member of the National Academy of Sciences Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources, the U. S. Board for International Agricultural Development and the UN Secretary’s Scientific Advisory Board. Ejeta emphasizes that combining the work of universities as generators of knowledge and discovery with that of private-sector producers and processors, through the power of markets and trade, is where a win-win can occur in addressing the inequities around the world, both within and between nations. “The gap is growing. It is a gap in resources and in the knowledge base. For the betterment of humanity, we need to narrow these gaps,” he says. “There are still abundant natural resources and a sufficient knowledge base to support more equitable economic opportunities to feed, nourish and shelter humanity. That is essential if we are to be able to feed humanity and keep our planet in perpetuity.” Michael Langemeier, professor of agricultural economics and associate director of Purdue’s Center for Commercial Agriculture, specializes in agricultural finance and farm management. He underscores concern for farmers when the margins by which they earn a living have been consistently shrinking. “Agriculture can’t be rushed and is a relatively slow process,” he says. “The industry can’t respond immediately to changing needs and demand. Farmer sentiment has been volatile since COVID. Supply chain issues from COVID have also not yet been resolved, which puts pressure on all businesses.” Jayson Lusk, distinguished professor and head of agricultural economics, is also the director of the Center for Food Demand Analysis and Sustainability. As he considers the past several years and looks ahead, he speculates about how the United States and the world will respond. “Economic conditions and food supply disruptions are occurring that could lead to political instability in more countries across the globe. We aren’t there yet, but there is reason to be concerned,” Lusk says. “The agricultural system can’t immediately increase supply. The hamburger you are eating today is the result of decisions made three years ago.” An agronomy associate professor who specializes in wheat breeding and genetics, Mohsen Mohammadi highlights the gap in productivity between research and growers’ farms. “International partnership is critical to bridge the gap from here to our full potential. We must open the doors and share our knowledge and innovations,” he says. Specifically addressing the potential losses with Ukrainian wheat exports, Mohammadi explains the possible impact. “There is no other supply to substitute for the Ukrainian wheat. This season, the best thing everyone can do for global food security is to collect and facilitate the trade of wheat to get it where it needs to go,” he says. Research professor Farzad Taheripour’s research bridging energy and agriculture has become increasingly relevant with volatile gas prices and increasing environmental concerns. “Right now, we have a contradiction of goals,” Taheripour says. “We want to secure a supply of crude oil to maintain consumption of gasoline at lower prices, but for environmental concerns we also want to move away from petroleum products and increase use of cleaner sources of energy.” Taheripour also emphasizes that these issues are defined by policies across the globe. “The recent increases in gas and crop prices suggest that we need to implement a set of well-defined policies to manage both the agricultural and energy market as these markets interact in various ways.”
Nc'nean takeover the World's Smallest Whisky Bar
Sustainability leader in the Scotch whisky industry Nc’nean joins forces with Cask 88 to take over their tiny pop-up bar in its last week at the Edinburgh Festivals. At the start of the month, Cask 88 opened the World’s Smallest Whisky Bar in one of Edinburgh’s classical police boxes. This is Cask 88’s first pop up bar offering Edinburgh wanderers the chance to try a range of their whiskies, free of charge. Now, in its last week operating as a free sampling experience, Cask 88 have teamed up with Nc’nean distillery to have them takeover the bar for one day only - Wednesday the 24th of August. Nc’nean distillery, located near Drimnin on the North West Coast of Scotland, is Scotland’s leading environmental distillery. Verified as the country’s first first net zero whisky distillery for scopes one and two, it uses 100% organic Scottish barley and the distillery is powered by 100% renewable energy. With sustainability at the core of its foundation, B Corp certified Nc’Nean began distilling in 2017 and launched their first organic single malt scotch whisky in 2020. Founder and CEO of Nc’nean, Annabel Thomas, said: “We are really excited to be taking over Cask 88’s World’s Smallest Whisky Bar this Wednesday. As a small, independent brand ourselves, it feels like it’s just meant to be. We will be serving up tasters of our Organic Single Malt Scotch for those on the lookout for something light, easy-going and, most of all, better for the planet.” Head of Sales at Cask 88, Carl Johnstone, said: “As real innovators in the whisky industry, Nc’nean are the ideal candidates to take over our tiny whisky bar in its final week of operation. Throughout all the fun of our whisky bar we’ve had sustainability at the forefront of our minds, from being fully paperless to our zero waste edible cups. We’re so excited to introduce visitors to their pioneering sustainable approach and of course, their delicious single malt.” Nc’nean will operate the World’s Smallest Whisky Bar between 12 noon- 7pm on Wednesday. No booking is required. The bar is located on Princes Street, sitting snugly on the corner of Hope Street and Shandwick Place. After the takeover, the bar will once again be run by Cask 88 and remain open between Thursday 25th- Sunday 28th (12pm-7pm). Visitors can book through Eventbrite for the remaining days of the pop up event to try Cask 88’s single malts.
DUSIT further bolsters its food business in Thailand as OR acquires a 25% stake in Dusit Foods
Dusit Thani Public Company Limited (DUSIT), one of Thailand’s leading hotel and property development companies, and PTT Oil and Retail Business Public Company Limited (OR) by Modulus Venture, a wholly owned subsidiary of OR, a leading oil and retail company, have inked an agreement for OR to acquire a 25% stake in DUSIT’s food business subsidiary, Dusit Foods, as part of a joint vision to deliver a new growth engine that contributes to Thailand’s economic rise by fostering development of the food industry. To achieve this, DUSIT aims to combine its strengths in upstream, midstream, and downstream food businesses with OR’s expertise in operating leading retail distribution channels – including almost 2,500 PTT Stations and over 4,000 Café Amazon outlets – to reach multiple lifestyle segments, help local food businesses expand domestically and internationally, and deliver sustainable value across the entire supply chain, both inside and outside of Thailand. The investment agreement was officially signed at a special ceremony held recently at Baan Dusit Thani in Bangkok, where Ms Suphajee Suthumpun, Group CEO, DUSIT; Ms La-ead Kovavisaruch, Chief Investment Officer, DUSIT; Ms Jiraphon Kawswat, President and CEO, OR; and Mr Somyot Kongprawet, Senior Executive Vice President, Lifestyle Business, OR, were all on hand to mark the occasion. “We are delighted and honoured to join hands with OR for this exciting, synergistic alliance that will leverage OR’s robust retail platform and retail expertise and our own extensive knowledge in upstream, midstream, and downstream food businesses to meet the needs of multiple lifestyle segments in Thailand and abroad,” said Ms Suthumpun. “At the same time, our companies both share the same clear vision to deliver a new growth engine that fosters growth of the food industry in Thailand and ultimately contributes to the country's economic development. This includes working together with OR to create a new food platform that gives local businesses opportunities for domestic and international expansion, including extending their growth and revenue-generating prospects by working with OR as well as other thriving non-oil retail entities that OR has invested in previously, namely Café Amazon and the Ohkajhu health food brand. This shared vision makes our alliance even more powerful.” Ms Suthumpun explained that, as part of its vision ‘to bring Asia to the world,’ Dusit Foods itself prioritises investing in food businesses that place importance on natural, organic, and good-for-health processes while also supporting local communities. “As part of our company’s three-pronged strategy for balance, expansion, and diversification, we have invested in food businesses that are not only related to our core hotel business, but which also have high growth potential and cover the total supply chain. We expect all these food businesses to flourish under our alliance with OR, plus further opportunities to expand domestically and internationally.” Dusit Foods' investment portfolio currently includes Epicure Catering Co., Ltd., a leading provider of food and beverage services to the international school industry with a market share of over 70% in Thailand; The Caterers Joint Stock Company Limited, or ‘The Caterers,’ a leader in school catering and off-site receptions in Vietnam; and KAUAI, a popular healthy fast-casual restaurant chain from South Africa, which Dusit Foods brought to the Thai market and plans to expand across Asia. Most recently, Dusit Foods concluded an agreement to acquire a 55% stake in Bonjour Bakery Asia Co., Ltd., which operates a state-of-the-art baking factory producing French-style pastry products in the Eastern Seaboard Industrial Estate, Rayong Province, and its associated bakery franchise business, comprising more than 50 branches across Thailand and one in China. Speaking on behalf of OR at the signing ceremony, Ms Kawswat said that OR’s past, present, and future are fully embodied in its new vision, ‘Empowering All Toward Inclusive Growth.’ This vision includes identifying opportunities for inclusive growth and focusing on collaborations that strengthen businesses and help them to fulfil their potential. Ms Kawswat added that OR’s ultimate goal is to reach inclusive growth and success in all dimensions amidst the uncertain global economic environment. “Our alliance with DUSIT through Dusit Foods will enhance the potential of OR's lifestyle business, especially the food segment, which will benefit the outlets owned by OR and those we have co-invested in,” said Ms Kawswat. “One of OR’s missions is to create an alternative food business model that facilitates convenience and comprehensively meets all the lifestyle preferences of multigenerational consumers. Following our focus on Outside-In growth, which includes seeking investment opportunities with partners in new markets, this new model will also allow us to flourish with other Thai brands, locally and internationally.” Ms Kawswat said that DUSIT’s business strategy aligns with OR’s goal for economic prosperity that aims to drive growth, offer career opportunities, and distribute wealth to partners and MSMEs by working directly with them. “In expanding its business internationally, Dusit Foods aims to introduce ‘Thainess’ to the global arena, bringing benefits to both upstream and downstream food supply chains, as well as local communities, and we see huge potential for growth in this area,” said Ms Kawswat. “OR is now ready for businesses of all types and sizes to enter the OR ecosystem, and we’re primed to transform into an Inclusive Growth Platform that combines business models and innovation to address problems faced by people, society, and the environment to have a positive, meaningful impact overall.”
Fourth of July spreads didn't shrink, but consumers are hitting their limits with higher food prices
For most Americans, higher prices at the grocery store did not impact their Fourth of July cookout, but more consumers are looking for sales and switching to generics, according to the Consumer Food Insights Report. The survey-based report out of Purdue University’s Center for Food Demand Analysis and Sustainability assesses food security and spending, consumer satisfaction and values, support of agricultural and food policies and trust in information sources. Compared to five months ago, more Americans are making changes in response to higher food prices. The largest share of consumers, 28%, now reports seeking out more sales and discounts, and more people are switching to generic, using coupons, cutting out nonessentials and shopping at cheaper stores. “Shopping discounts and generics is a clear sign of budget consciousness among consumers,” said Jayson Lusk, the head and Distinguished Professor of Agricultural Economics at Purdue who leads the center. “After increasing for several months in the first half of the year, food expenditures are now remaining relatively consistent. This indicates consumers have become more concerned with finding ways to keep their grocery bills from rising any higher.” Purdue experts conducted and evaluated the survey, which included 1,200 consumers across the U.S. Additional key results include: 16% of all households are food insecure. Weekly food spending rose by 3% from June to $191 per week. More consumers are looking for sales, switching to generics, compared to five months ago. Food insecurity in 2022 is highest among those without any college education. A Sustainable Food Purchasing (SFP) Index of 69/100. In addition to the monthly survey, the team analyzed how responses differed across education levels. The team studied survey data from January to July, and the results showed differences in several areas, including food insecurity, importance of nutrition to purchases, satisfaction with one’s diet and behaviors related to sustainability. The importance of nutrition in food purchasing increases as consumers complete more years of college. The most educated consumers also report being most satisfied with their diets, the results showed. In addition, gardening, vegetarianism and recycling are most popular among those with a graduate degree. “As education has a correlation with average income, this finding underscores the vulnerability of people who are financially struggling,” Lusk said. “Even small amounts of inflation can significantly impact this group’s food security. Fortunately, the U.S. has programs in place like SNAP and WIC that can ramp up in times of need and be quickly expanded, but policymakers should also be thinking about long-term solutions.” The survey results also showed differences in food beliefs across education levels. Graduate degree holders are the only group where the majority agrees that genetically modified food is safe to eat or, in other words, just as safe as conventional breeding practices, said Sam Polzin, a food and agriculture survey scientist for the center and co-author of the report. “This is the only group with a majority in agreement with what the science shows,” Polzin said. “We see similar results when it comes to food and climate change. To me, these differences in beliefs based on educational attainment mean that as science communicators, we need to do a better job reaching consumers without a four-year college degree. Although it is hard to draw a straight line between belief and behavior, one will be less inclined to change their behaviors if they don’t believe their food choice has an impact. This is supported by results showing the sustainable food purchasing indicators also increase with education level.” The Sustainable Food Purchasing Index offers insight into how sustainability and health relate to consumer behaviors. It is a self-reported assessment of how consumer shopping habits correspond with healthy diets from sustainable food systems. Lusk further discusses the report in his blog. The Center for Food Demand Analysis and Sustainability is part of Purdue’s Next Moves in agriculture and food systems and uses innovative data analysis shared through user-friendly platforms to improve the food system. In addition to the Consumer Food Insights Report, the center offers a portfolio of online dashboards.
Slight increase in producer sentiment despite rising costs and lower crop prices
The Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer farmer sentiment index rose 6 points in July to a reading of 103. Producers were somewhat more optimistic about both current and future economic conditions on their farms when compared to June. The Index of Current Conditions rose 10 points to a reading of 109, and the Index of Future Expectations rose 4 points to a reading of 100. Although all three indices rose this month, they were still 23% to 24% lower than a year earlier. The Ag Economy Barometer is calculated each month from 400 U.S. agricultural producers’ responses to a telephone survey. This month’s survey was conducted July 11-15. “Even though we saw a slight uptick in sentiment this month, there is still a tremendous amount of uncertainty in the agricultural economy,” said James Mintert, the barometer’s principal investigator and director of Purdue University’s Center for Commercial Agriculture. “Key commodity prices, including wheat, corn and soybeans, all weakened during the month and producers remain concerned over rising input prices and input availability.” Farm operators in this month’s survey voiced concerns about several key issues affecting their operation, including higher input prices (42% of respondents), lower crop prices (19% of respondents), rising interest rates (17% of respondents) and availability of inputs (15% of respondents). The Farm Financial Performance Index, which is primarily reflective of income expectations for the current year, improved 5 points to a reading of 88 in June. However, this month, 49% of respondents said they expect their farm to be worse off financially a year from now, which compares to 51% who felt that way in June. This is a markedly more pessimistic outlook than producers provided a year ago when just 30% of respondents said they expect their financial condition to worsen in the upcoming year. Producers remain uncertain over their expectations for crop input prices over the next 12 months. In July, 18% of crop producers said they expect 2023’s crop input prices to decline between 1% and 10% when compared to 2022’s prices, versus 12% who felt that way in June. Meanwhile, 26% of respondents in July said they expect 2023’s prices to rise by 10% or more, compared to 38% who expected a crop input price rise of that magnitude in June. The rise in input costs is leading some producers to reassess their cropping plans for the upcoming year. In this month’s survey, nearly one out of four (24%) of crop producers said that as a result of the rise in input costs, they plan to change their farm’s crop mix in 2023. In a follow-up question, over half (53%) of respondents who said they plan to change their mix will increase the percentage of their cropland devoted to soybeans. In a separate set of questions, 26% of producers who said they planted winter wheat last year indicated they plan to increase their wheat acreage this fall. The Farm Capital Investment Index remains near its record low, up one point to a reading of 36 in July. To shed light on why, respondents who said now is a bad time for large investments were asked for the primary reason they felt that way. Of those respondents, 44% indicated an “increase in prices for farm machinery and new construction,” 15% said “uncertainty about farm profitability,” and 14% chose “rising interest rates” as the primary reason they viewed now as a bad time for large investments. Somewhat surprisingly, only 7% of respondents chose “tight farm machinery inventories at dealers” as their primary reason for responding negatively to the investment question. Producers’ views on farmland values diverged this month as the Short-Term Farmland Value Index declined 9 points to 127, while the long-term index rose 9 points to 150. The short-term index is down 20% from its peak reading in 2021, while the long-term index is only 6% lower than the peak reached last year. Short-term, there was a shift away from expectations that farmland values will go higher, with more producers in July expecting values to remain about the same. The long-term change was attributable to more respondents this month expecting values to rise with fewer expecting a decline over the next five years. “The short-run and long-term farmland indices don’t always move in tandem, but the magnitude of this month’s divergence between the short and long-term indices is unusual,” Mintert said. “Producers who expect values to rise over the upcoming five years continue to say that nonfarm investor demand and inflation are the two primary reasons they expect values to rise.” Read the full Ag Economy Barometer report at https://purdue.ag/agbarometer. The site also offers additional resources – such as past reports, charts and survey methodology – and a form to sign up for monthly barometer email updates and webinars. Each month, the Purdue Center for Commercial Agriculture provides a short video analysis of the barometer results, available at https://purdue.ag/barometervideo. For even more information, check out the Purdue Commercial AgCast podcast. It includes a detailed breakdown of each month’s barometer, in addition to a discussion of recent agricultural news that affects farmers. Available now at https://purdue.ag/agcast. The Ag Economy Barometer, Index of Current Conditions and Index of Future Expectations are available on the Bloomberg Terminal under the following ticker symbols: AGECBARO, AGECCURC and AGECFTEX.
The generational divide shows in our food system, too
Gen Z households are struggling more to put food on the table compared to those of Millennials, Gen X and Boomers, according to the Consumer Food Insights Report. Thirty percent of Gen Z households report seeking groceries from a food pantry, church or other charity in the last 30 days, compared to 8% of Boomer households, it showed. The survey-based report out of Purdue University’s Center for Food Demand Analysis and Sustainability assesses food security and spending, consumer satisfaction and values, support of agricultural and food policies and trust in information sources. In addition to the monthly survey, the team analyzed how responses differed between respondents of different age groups. The team studied survey data from January to June of 2022 and divided respondents into the age groups of Gen Z (those born after 1996), Millennials (those born from 1981-1996), Gen X (those born from 1965-1980) and Boomers+ (those born before 1965). The results showed differences in food security, beliefs about their food and food system, shopping habits, policy support and in what information sources they trust. “Since January, around 30% of Gen Z adults have experienced or are experiencing food insecurity, compared to around 19% of Millennial and Gen X adults and 7% of Boomers,” said Jayson Lusk, the head and distinguished professor of agricultural economics at Purdue, who leads the center. “Those who are younger tend to have lower incomes, so the results aren’t necessarily surprising, but we need to pay attention to it. Food inflation is outpacing salary growth, and it hits those with the lowest incomes the hardest.” Purdue experts conducted and evaluated the survey, which included 1,200 consumers across the U.S. Additional key results include: (1) 16% of all households are food insecure. (2) Most consumers are worried about the impacts of the war in Ukraine on food supplies. (3) Food demand and happiness continue to be price insensitive. (4) Trust in the FDA dropped more than 20% from last month. (5) A Sustainable Food Purchasing (SFP) Index of 70/100. The survey results show consumers clearly follow current events, Lusk said. Seventy percent of respondents are worried about the Russia-Ukraine war affecting global food supplies, and 58% said the war had impacted the price or availability of their food. The continuing drop in trust of the Food and Drug Administration also correlates with its recent involvement in controversies, he said. It is interesting that the rapid rise of food prices does not seem to have yet changed how Americans think or feel about their food, as food satisfaction measures remain strong, said Sam Polzin, a food and agriculture survey scientist for the center and co-author of the report. “Official government estimates show food prices, like gas prices, dramatically rising over the past year, though not quite as sharply as gas,” Polzin said. “However, consumers report being extremely dissatisfied with gas affordability but feeling neither satisfied nor dissatisfied with food affordability. Perhaps this says more about the unique power gas prices have on the American psyche.” The Sustainable Food Purchasing Index offers insight into how sustainability and health relate to consumer behaviors. It is a self-reported assessment of how consumer shopping habits correspond with healthy diets from sustainable food systems. The June score was the highest of the survey to date but remains broadly consistent, Polzin said. Millennials scored the highest on the environment, social and nutrition indicators, while consumers in the Boomers+ group scored higher on the taste, economic and security indicators. Lusk further discusses the report in his blog. https://jaysonlusk.com/ The Center for Food Demand Analysis and Sustainability is part of Purdue’s Next Moves in agriculture and food systems and uses innovative data analysis shared through user-friendly platforms to improve the food system. In addition to the Consumer Food Insights Report, the center offers a portfolio of online dashboards.
Farmer sentiment remains weak, crop producers contemplating acreage shifts in 2023
The Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer continued to slide in June, down 2 points to a reading of 97. Producers’ expectations for the future also weakened. The Index of Future Expectations fell 5 points to a reading of 96, marking the lowest level for the index since October 2016. Meanwhile, producers were slightly more optimistic regarding current conditions; the Index of Current Conditions improved 5 points to a reading of 99. The Ag Economy Barometer is calculated each month from 400 U.S. agricultural producers’ responses to a telephone survey. This month’s survey was conducted June 13-17. “Rising input costs and uncertainty about the future continue to weigh on farmer sentiment,” said James Mintert, the barometer’s principal investigator and director of Purdue University’s Center for Commercial Agriculture. “Many producers remain concerned about the ongoing escalation in production costs as well as commodity price volatility, which could lead to a production cost/income squeeze in 2023.” The Farm Financial Performance Index, which is primarily reflective of income expectations for the current year, improved 2 points to a reading of 83 in June, yet remains at one of the index’s lowest readings over the past two years. When asked about expectations for their farm’s financial condition in June 2023 compared to June 2022, 51% of survey respondents said they expect their farms to be worse off financially a year from now. This is the most negative response received to this question since data collection began in 2015. For the second month in a row, the Farm Capital Investment Index held at a record low of 35, as producers continue to say now is not a good time to make large investments in their farm operation. Supply chain issues continue to frustrate farmers. In May and June, 50% of producers said that tight machinery inventories were impacting their farm machinery purchase plans. The top concerns for producers in the upcoming year continue to be input prices (43%), followed by input availability (21%), government policies (18%), and lower output prices (17%). Looking ahead to 2023, a majority of farmers expect to see another round of large input cost increases, with 63% of producers expecting higher costs in 2023, on top of the large increases experienced in 2022. Nearly four out of 10 farmers expect input prices to rise by 10% or more next year when compared to 2022; only one out of 10 producers expect input prices in 2023 to fall below 2022’s prices. Producers also expect inflation to push up the cost of living for farm families in the year ahead. Seven out of 10 survey respondents said they expect the rate of inflation for consumer items to be 6% or higher over the next year, and 35% of respondents said they expect the inflation rate to exceed 10%. When asked about their cropping plans for the upcoming year, one out of five (19%) of crop producers said they intend to change their crop mix in the upcoming year in response to rising input costs. Among those who plan to shift their crop mix, almost half of the respondents (46%) said the biggest change will be to devote a higher percentage of their acreage to soybeans. Twenty-six percent of those planning a crop mix change said the biggest change would be to devote more of their farm to wheat production, while 21% of respondents said they would shift to planting more corn. Although both farmland value indices remain at strong levels, producers were noticeably less confident that farmland values will continue to rise than they were last fall. The Short-Term Farmland Value Expectations Index dropped 9 points to a reading of 136 in June, while the Long-Term Farmland Value Expectations Index dropped 8 points to a reading of 141. The short- and long-term farmland indices are down 13% and 12%, respectively, from the highs posted in fall of 2021. This month’s survey also asked farmers who planted corn or soybeans in 2022 about their expectations for farmland cash rental rates in 2023. Over half (52%) of respondents said they expect cash rental rates to rise next year. Of those who expect rates to rise, eight out of 10 respondents said they expect rates to rise 5% or more, while four out of 10 said they expect rental rates to rise by 10% or more in 2023. Read the full Ag Economy Barometer report. The site also offers additional resources – such as past reports, charts and survey methodology – and a form to sign up for monthly barometer email updates and webinars. Each month, the Purdue Center for Commercial Agriculture provides a short video analysis of the barometer results. For even more information, check out the Purdue Commercial AgCast podcast. It includes a detailed breakdown of each month’s barometer, in addition to a discussion of recent agricultural news that affects farmers. The Ag Economy Barometer, Index of Current Conditions and Index of Future Expectations are available on the Bloomberg Terminal under the following ticker symbols: AGECBARO, AGECCURC and AGECFTEX.
Report shows differences in food insecurity, sustainable food purchasing between racial and ethnic groups
Black and Hispanic consumers are somewhat more likely to check food labels and much more likely to face food insecurity, according to the Consumer Food Insights Report. The survey-based report out of Purdue University’s Center for Food Demand Analysis and Sustainability assesses food security and spending, consumer satisfaction and values, support of agricultural and food policies and trust in information sources. The latest report also details differences in food purchasing, preferences and food insecurity between racial and ethnic groups. The team analyzed the survey data from January through May to compare differences in responses across white, Black, Asian and Hispanic households. “Significant disparities exist between racial and ethnic groups, and nearly 30% of Black and Hispanic households have experienced food insecurity this year,” said Jayson Lusk, the head and Distinguished Professor of Agricultural Economics at Purdue, who leads the center. “In addition, around 50% of Black and Hispanic households report waiting on their next paycheck or government payment to buy groceries. These data help us identify where to focus efforts to reduce food insecurity.” Purdue experts conducted and evaluated the survey, which included 1,200 consumers across the U.S. Additional results include: Black and Hispanic food insecurity is more than double that of white and Asian households. 16% of households are food insecure. Total food spending increased 7% from last month to $184 per week. 55% of consumers think farmers should replace synthetic fertilizers with organic. A Sustainable Food Purchasing Index of 68/100. The Sustainable Food Purchasing Index offers insight into how sustainability and health relate to consumer behaviors. It is a self-reported assessment of how consumer shopping habits correspond with healthy diets from sustainable food systems. The survey showed white adults were less likely than the other groups to purchase food that is typically promoted as more ethical or sustainable, for instance local foods, wild-caught fish, grass-fed beef, cage-free eggs and organic foods. The Consumer Food Insights Report, as well as other historical sources, also show Black and Hispanic adults are more likely to be vegetarian or vegan compared to the general population, said Sam Polzin, a food and agriculture survey scientist for the center and co-author of the report. “Eating a plant-based diet is often presented as a cultural movement led by white yuppies, but we found that Black, as well as Asian and Hispanic, consumers are more likely to choose the plant-based and organic options,” Polzin said. “Eating fewer animal products may now be most associated with modern environmentalism, but it is important to remember that many non-Western food traditions — including Hinduism, Rastafari, and many indigenous tribes across the Americas — have long eaten little or no meat.” Lusk notes that higher interest in plant-based diets may also be a result of income differences and the fact that meat tends to be a relatively expensive dining option. Survey responses also showed Black Americans check food labeling, including GMO ingredients and place of origin, more often than other groups. “As debates over sustainable food labeling are expected to heat up, we must understand which groups will be impacted by rapidly evolving policy discussions and accurately represent who new labeling standards are meant to benefit,” Polzin said. “Trust in the food system varies across racial and ethnic group as well, and food labeling can be a critical tool for communicating useful, expert-certified product information and building trust.” The Trustworthiness Index measured by the survey reveals that Black and Hispanic adults trust government agencies such as the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration significantly less than white and Asian adults. Lusk further discusses the report in his blog, and a video is available at Youtube. The Center for Food Demand Analysis and Sustainability is part of Purdue’s Next Moves in agriculture and food systems, and it aims to use innovative data analysis shared through user-friendly platforms to improve the food system. In addition to the Consumer Food Insights Report, the center offers a portfolio of online dashboards.
Farmer sentiment plummets as production costs skyrocket
The Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer dropped to its lowest level since April 2020, down 22 points in May to a reading of 99. Agricultural producers’ perceptions regarding current conditions on their farms, as well as their future expectations, both weakened this month. The Index of Current Conditions dipped 26 points to a reading of 94, and the Index of Future Expectations fell 21 points to a reading of 101. The Ag Economy Barometer is calculated each month from 400 U.S. agricultural producers’ responses to a telephone survey. This month’s survey was conducted May 16-20. “Despite strong commodity prices, this month’s weakness in producers’ sentiment appears to be driven by the rapid rise in production costs and uncertainty about where input prices are headed,” said James Mintert, the barometer’s principal investigator and director of Purdue University’s Center for Commercial Agriculture. “That combination is leaving producers very concerned about their farms’ financial performance.” The Farm Financial Performance Index declined 14 points to a reading of 81 in May. The percentage of producers who expect their farm’s financial performance to worsen in 2022 compared to last year rose from 29% in April to 38% in May. Over the course of the last 13 months, the Farm Financial Performance Index has fallen 41% below its life-of-survey high of 138 set in April 2021. The Farm Capital Investment Index drifted to an all-time low in May and is down 30 points from this same time last year. In the May survey, only 13% of respondents said this is a good time to make large investments in their operation, while 78% said they viewed it as a bad time to invest in things like machinery and buildings. Half of the producers in this month’s survey said their machinery purchase plans were impacted by low farm machinery inventory levels, up from 41% in the April survey, suggesting that supply chain issues are at least partly responsible for the ongoing weakness in the capital investment index. Higher input costs remain a top concern for producers with 44% of those surveyed choosing it as the biggest concern facing their farming operation in the coming year. Additionally, 57% of producers said they expect a 30% or more rise in prices paid for farm inputs in 2022 compared with prices paid last year. The May survey also asked producers about their expectations for input costs in 2023 compared to 2022 with nearly 39% of producers indicating they expect an additional cost increase of 10% or more in the coming year. In response to a Biden administration policy proposal for a $10/acre wheat/double-crop soybean crop insurance subsidy, this month’s survey asked respondents if the subsidy would encourage them to plant more wheat in fall 2022 than would otherwise be the case. Among producers who have employed a wheat/double-crop soybean rotation in the past, just over one in five (22%) said it would encourage them to plant more wheat. Among producers who have not followed a wheat/double-crop soybean rotation in the past, just one out of 10 producers said the insurance subsidy would encourage them to plant more wheat this fall. Lastly, farmers remain optimistic toward farmland values. The Short-Term Farmland Value Expectations Index, based upon producers’ 12-month outlook, rose 1 point to a reading of 145. Meanwhile, the Long-Term Farmland Value Expectations Index, based upon producers’ farmland outlook over the upcoming five years, rose 8 points in May to a reading of 149. In a follow-up question, respondents who expect farmland values to rise over the next five years were asked the main reason they expect values to rise. Over the past few months that this question has been posed, respondents have consistently chosen nonfarm investor demand as the top reason, followed closely by inflation. Read the full Ag Economy Barometer report. The site also offers additional resources – such as past reports, charts and survey methodology – and a form to sign up for monthly barometer email updates and webinars. Each month, the Purdue Center for Commercial Agriculture provides a short video analysis of the barometer results. For even more information, check out the Purdue Commercial AgCast podcast. It includes a detailed breakdown of each month’s barometer, in addition to a discussion of recent agricultural news that affects farmers. The Ag Economy Barometer, Index of Current Conditions and Index of Future Expectations are available on the Bloomberg Terminal under the following ticker symbols: AGECBARO, AGECCURC and AGECFTEX.
Urban-rural food satisfaction, food security gaps show in new report
People living in urban and rural areas share many of the same concerns about food prices and availability - including the impact of recent bird flu outbreaks. However, differences remain in food insecurity and diet satisfaction, according to the monthly Consumer Food Insights Report. The survey-based report out of Purdue University’s Center for Food Demand Analysis and Sustainability assesses food security and spending, consumer satisfaction and values, support of agricultural and food policies and trust in information sources. This month’s report also examines the year to date and compares the answers of respondents living in rural versus urban areas. Key results include: (1) 60% of consumers are concerned about the impact of bird flu on food prices. (2) Food spending is 9% higher than in January, but food demand remains price insensitive. (3) 14% of all households and 23% of rural households are facing food insecurity. (4) 71% of people in urban and 61% in rural areas give their diet a high rating. (5) A Sustainable Food Purchasing (SFP) Index of 69/100. Although not a new trend, the difference in food insecurity between urban and rural demographics was clear in the survey results, said Jayson Lusk, the head and Distinguished Professor of Agricultural Economics at Purdue, who leads the center. “Rural Americans struggle more often than urban Americans to buy the food they want,” he said. “As one might expect, current economic conditions appear to have further disadvantaged this group. For example, they face not only significantly higher food prices today than four months ago, but higher gas prices are likely affecting purchasing decisions among those who have to drive many miles to a grocery store.” Sam Polzin, a food and agriculture survey scientist for the center and co-author of the report, said minority and marginalized people in rural communities historically face even higher rates of food insecurity. “We need to identify and respond to challenges that an issue like inflation might exacerbate among people who have faced systemic inequalities and exclusionary food assistance policies,” he said. “However, measuring changes in eating patterns among relatively small groups, like Native Americans, can be very difficult to do through a national survey. We need to combine multiple high-quality data sources to do this.” Differences between urban and rural households were also found in self-evaluation of the quality of their diets, Polzin said. “According to the survey results, urban consumers are more likely than rural consumers to be happy with both their diets and lives,” he said. “Does living in a city make someone happier with their diet? We need further testing to determine what is behind this.” The Sustainable Food Purchasing Index reflects consumer food purchasing that aligns with a set of key recommendations for healthy diets from sustainable food systems. The index includes six components correlating with different strategies for achieving food system transformation: nutrition, environment, social, economic, security and taste. The team found people who live in urban areas scored slightly higher across all dimensions of the SFP Index compared with people living in rural areas. The SFP value for April is 69/100. “Most Americans understand their food choices affect the environment,” Polzin said. “But survey results also have shown that sustainability beliefs do not necessarily play out through consumer behaviors, and environmental impact is low on the list of purchasing considerations.” There are persistent misunderstandings when it comes to food and sustainability, Lusk said. “More people believe local food is better for the environment than believe eating less meat is better for the environment,” he said. “However, scientific studies show little evidence of benefits of local food production and significant evidence of the negative impact of meat production. To me this highlights the need for consumers to have better access to information and more transparency in the food system, which is what we aim to do.” Video of Lusk explaining the report is available at https://youtu.be/_fPNydSEJJE. The Center for Food Demand Analysis and Sustainability is part of Purdue’s Next Moves in agriculture and food systems, and it aims to use innovative data analysis shared through user-friendly platforms to improve the food system. In addition to the Consumer Food Insights Report, the center offers a portfolio of online dashboards.
Producer sentiment improves with strengthened commodity prices, but high cost inflation worries farmers
The Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer improved in April, up 8 points to a reading of 121; however, it remains 32% below its reading from the same time last year. Producers’ perspective on current conditions and future expectations saw an uptick over the past month. The Index of Current Conditions improved 7 points to a reading of 120, and the Index of Future Expectations improved 9 points to a reading of 122. The Ag Economy Barometer is calculated each month from 400 U.S. agricultural producers’ responses to a telephone survey. This month’s survey was conducted April 18-22. “Rising prices for major commodities, especially corn and soybeans, appear to be leading the change in producers’ improved financial outlook,” said James Mintert, the barometer’s principal investigator and director of Purdue University’s Center for Commercial Agriculture. “However, it’s hard to overstate the magnitude of the cost increases producers say they are facing.” The Farm Financial Performance Index improved to a reading of 95, up 8 points from March, and 12 points higher than in January and February. As Mintert suggests, much of this could be attributed to the strengthened commodity prices. For example, Eastern Corn Belt cash prices for corn in mid-April rose more than 10% above their mid-March levels while bids for fall delivery of 2022 crop corn climbed 20% over the same period. Soybean prices rose as well. Near-term delivery prices for soybeans rose about 7% from mid-March to mid-April, while elevator bids for fall delivery of new crop soybeans climbed 5% over the one-month span. Even as commodity prices have strengthened, producers continue to say higher input costs are the top concern for their farming operation. In April, 42% of producers chose higher input costs as their biggest concern, which was more than twice as many who chose government policies (21%) or lower output prices (19%). In April, 60% of survey respondents said they expect input prices to rise by 30% over the next 12 months. This compares to an average of 37% of respondents who said they were expecting a cost increase of this magnitude when the same question was posed in the December 2021 through March 2022 surveys. When asked specifically for their expectations for 2023 crop input prices compared with prices paid for 2022 crop inputs, 36% of respondents said they expect prices to rise 10% or more and 21% of crop producers said input price rises of 20% or more are likely. The war in Ukraine has also added a new level of uncertainty for producers. Sixty percent of survey respondents said the biggest impact of the war on U.S. agriculture will be on input prices. Crop input challenges extend beyond their inflated cost to their availability. In April, 34% of producers said they experienced some difficulty in purchasing inputs for the 2022 crop season, up from 27% in March. In a follow-up question, producers who said they had some difficulty obtaining inputs said that herbicides (30% of respondents) were most problematic, followed closely by farm machinery parts (27%), fertilizer (26%), and insecticides (17%). In a related question, 11% of crop producers said they received notice an input supplier would not be able to deliver one or more crop inputs they had already purchased for use in 2022. Of those, herbicide availability was the top problem reported. Despite an overall improved financial performance outlook, the Farm Capital Investment Index remains at its all-time low. Supply chain problems remain a key reason many producers feel now is not a good time for making large investments in their farming operations. For example, just over 40% of producers said their farm machinery purchase plans were impacted by low machinery inventories. The rising cost of all inputs, including machinery, buildings, and grain bins, is likely another factor causing producers to say now is not a good time for large investments. Read the full Ag Economy Barometer report. The site also offers additional resources – such as past reports, charts and survey methodology – and a form to sign up for monthly barometer email updates and webinars. Each month, the Purdue Center for Commercial Agriculture provides a short video analysis of the barometer results. For even more information, check out the Purdue Commercial AgCast podcast. It includes a detailed breakdown of each month’s barometer, in addition to a discussion of recent agricultural news that affects farmers. The Ag Economy Barometer, Index of Current Conditions and Index of Future Expectations are available on the Bloomberg Terminal under the following ticker symbols: AGECBARO, AGECCURC and AGECFTEX.
Ripken Baseball Celebrates National Beef Month with Tommy’s Jerky
In celebration of National Beef Month in May, Ripken Baseball announces its first multi-year partnership in the meats and smokies category with Tommy’s Jerky. As the official jerky of Ripken Baseball, Tommy’s Jerky will provide its award-winning products at The Ripken Experience™ in Aberdeen, MD, Myrtle Beach, SC, and Pigeon Forge, TN. To kick off the new partnership, Ripken Baseball will host multiple “Jerky and Jersey” social media contests where fans can win a supply of Tommy’s Jerky products along with a Cal Ripken, Jr. autographed jersey. “We continue to identify and align with partners that elevate the players’ experience,” said Amanda Shank, Vice President of Business Development for Ripken Baseball. “Tommy’s Jerky is the ultimate easy to go snack and perfect option for all of our players, coaches, umpires, and families inside and outside our facilities.” As part of the retail program, Tommy’s Jerky award-winning jerky and meat smokies will be made available to enhance performance and refuel the umpires during competition. In addition, youth travel baseball teams seeking a delicious and easy way to raise funds to support their program have an opportunity to earn a profit by selling Tommy’s Jerky variety of products. Teams are encouraged to reach out directly to Amy Bulick at firstname.lastname@example.org if interested in receiving more information about Tommy’s Jerky fundraiser program. “We are so pleased and honored to be the Official Jerky and Smokies of Ripken Baseball,” said Amy Bulick, President and CEO of Tommy’s Jerky and Smokies. “Our high-quality production process and unique flavors set us apart from other jerky and smokie brands. Like Ripken Baseball, we are a first-class experience, and we take great pride in what we do.” Tommy’s Jerky and Smokies looks forward to supplying players, families, and fans with amazing products to tempt their tastes for many seasons to come.
Up to 45% discount on 12 selected Super Tuscan Wines at Dining Room and Living Room
Park Hyatt Busan’s dining and drinking venues present “Super Tuscan Wine”, promoting Italy’s premium wines with savings of up to 45%. A wide selection of handpicked bottles are the perfect complement to our both menus among Dining Room and Living Room. Super Tuscan Wines are the highest of quality among its grown and bottled wines in Tuscany, central Italy. This unique hotel promotion, 12 Super Tuscan Wines are available for guests to choose from. Among these 12 selected Super Tuscan wines, you will find “Sassicaia”, recipient of a perfect score in wine tasting events, hosted by the international wine magazine, Decanter. This wine is the originator of Super Tuscan wines and earned an independent DOC. It is well-structured and features a deep ruby color. It is moderate in acidity and tannin, and features a long, smooth finish. Also presenting, “Tignanello”, which made a name for itself as a Super Tuscan with its rich fruity flavor, velvety tannin, firm structure and long-lasting finish. Further, “Ornellaia”, considered one of the best of the Super Tuscans, a well-balanced by intensity and elegance. All are perfect to enjoy a day at Park Hyatt Busan. The “Super Tuscan Wine” Promotion offers guests an opportunity to experience authentic premium Italian wines that are well-matched with Dining Room’s signature, grilled steak, and Living Room’s authentic Italian dishes, at a special price, staring from KRW 60,000 for half-bottle (including tax). Equally perfect for the Living Room “Antipasti Buffet” during Park Hyatt Busan’s weekend lunch. Information & Reservations: +82 51 990 1300
Policy opinions revealed in Consumer Food Insights Report
As the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture reviews the Farm Bill, consumers shared their opinions on food and agriculture policy in a new survey. The third Consumer Food Insights Report from Purdue University offers insights into the popularity of specific policies and how opinions differ depending on a consumer’s income. Increased funding for research to create crops more resistant to heat drought and flooding, and conservation programs to pay farmers and ranchers to adopt climate-smart practices were the most popular policies included, with more than 80% of the consumers in support. In addition, 63% of the respondents agreed that climate change will influence food prices. Food safety and inspection ranked as the most important USDA budget category. The survey-based report out of Purdue’s Center for Food Demand Analysis and Sustainability assesses food security and spending, consumer satisfaction and values, support of agricultural and food policies and trust in information sources. Additional key results from the March survey include: (1) The Sustainable Food Purchasing (SFP) Index remained at 68/100. (2) Share of households experiencing very low food security rose to 9.7%. (3) Inability to find specific foods at the store decreased to 21%. (4) Total food spending increased by 8%. (5) 16% of spending on food away from home went to delivery. (6) At present, consumer food demand is price insensitive. The March survey added an examination of differences in responses across low-, middle- and high-income brackets. The results showed differences in support of policies like SNAP benefits and a sweetened beverage tax, as well as in self-assessment of sustainable food purchasing. “The survey results show that income is a big driver of food preferences and buying behavior,” said Jayson Lusk, head and Distinguished Professor of Agricultural Economics at Purdue, who leads the center. “Lower income consumers spend a larger share of the their income on food, place greater weight on food affordability, are more likely to choose generic over branded products, and are overall less happy with their diets than higher-income consumers. As a result, policies that increase the price of food have a disproportionate impact on lower-income households.” Another interesting policy-related result was broad support for the regulation of environmental claims that food companies can make, he said. “Consumers may be confused by or have difficulty navigating the current food sustainability advertising landscape,” Lusk said. “Seventy percent of respondents supported new regulations on what companies can say about their products.” The survey results showed large majorities support individual policies that could improve food system outcomes, such as funding more agricultural research or regulating confined animal feeding operations, said Sam Polson, a food and agriculture survey scientist for the center and co-author of the report. “However, from a policymaking perspective, there is an increasing congressional focus on large omnibus legislation, and the public opinion data on these bills tend to be less clear,” he said. “It is difficult to say that the popularity of a policy like expanding pandemic-related SNAP benefits would hold when attached to other policy objectives. “Our results also reaffirm conventional wisdom in policymaking: Spending less rarely makes for popular policy. People are much more likely to support the status quo or favor increased federal spending.” The Sustainable Food Purchasing Index (SFP) value for March remained the same as February at 68/100. The score reflects consumer food purchasing that aligns with a set of key recommendations for healthy diets from sustainable food systems. The index includes six components correlating with different strategies for achieving food system transformation: nutrition, environment, social, economic, security and taste. Higher-income consumers tended to rate the sustainability of their diets as higher than did lower-income consumers, particularly on dimensions related to taste, security, economics and nutrition. By contrast, there were very little difference in high vs. low income on sustainability dimensions related to social and environment, Lusk said. He further discusses the report in his blog. Video of Lusk explaining the report is available at Youtube The Center for Food Demand Analysis and Sustainability is part of Purdue’s Next Moves in agriculture and food systems, and seeks to use innovative data analysis shared through user-friendly platforms to improve the food system. In addition to the Consumer Food Insights Report, the center offers a portfolio of online dashboards.
Ag Economy Barometer slides lower, producers concerned about war’s impact on input prices
The Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer dipped to a reading of 113 in March, down 12 points from February and 36% lower than March 2021, marking the weakest farmer sentiment reading since May 2020, the early days of the pandemic. The decline was driven by producers’ weaker perceptions of both current conditions in the agricultural economy and expectations for the future. The Index of Current Conditions declined 19 points to 113, down 44% from March 2021, and the Index of Future Expectations declined 9 points to 113, down 31% from the same time last year. The Ag Economy Barometer is calculated each month from 400 U.S. agricultural producers’ responses to a telephone survey. This month’s survey was conducted March 14-18. “Concern about the war’s impact on input prices and input availability on their farming operations was paramount in the minds of producers responding to the March survey and was a major factor in this month’s decline in sentiment,” said James Mintert, the barometer’s principal investigator and director of Purdue University’s Center for Commercial Agriculture. The March survey provided the first opportunity to ask producers how they expect the war in Ukraine to affect U.S. agriculture. Producers overwhelmingly said they expect input prices to be most affected (63% of respondents), followed by crop prices (33% of respondents), and livestock prices (3% of respondents). Responding to a related question, 19% of respondents chose “availability of inputs” as their biggest concern in their farming operation this year, which was equal to the percentage of producers who chose “lower crop and/or livestock prices” as their biggest concern. Diving deeper into producers’ expectations for farm input prices in the upcoming year, 57% expect farm input prices to rise by 20% or more, and 36% think input prices will rise by 30% or more. And, just over one-fourth (27%) of producers say they’ve had difficulty purchasing crop inputs for the 2022 crop season. Producers report that supply chain problems persist across a wide range of inputs, with herbicides, fertilizer and farm machinery parts posing the most problems. Producers continue to say that they expect their farm’s financial performance to decline in 2022 compared to 2021. The March Farm Financial Performance Index, which asks producers whether they expect their farm's financial performance in 2022 to be better than, worse than or about the same as in 2021, was up slightly (4 points) at a reading of 87 but remains 30% lower than a year earlier. “When producers think about how their farm will fare financially in 2022, it’s clear they do not expect commodity price strength to offset the dramatic rise in farm production costs they are experiencing,” Mintert said. Producers do not view this as a good time to make large investments in their farming operations as the Farm Capital Investment Index fell again in March. The index was 6 points lower than a month earlier and 59% lower than in March 2021 when it was near its all-time peak. In a pair of follow-up questions, 62% of respondents said their plans for farm machinery purchases in the upcoming year are lower than a year earlier, which is the most negative response to that question since May 2020. When asked a similar question about their plans for farm building and grain bin construction, 68% of respondents chose “lower,” which was the most negative response received to that question since its first inclusion in a barometer survey in May 2021. Supply chain problems continue to haunt both the farm machinery and construction sectors and are one of the reasons producers don’t view this as a good time for large investments. For example, 42% of producers this month said their machinery purchase plans were impacted by low farm machinery inventories, consistent with industry reports that major machinery manufacturers are experiencing order backlogs. Read the full Ag Economy Barometer report. The site also offers additional resources – such as past reports, charts and survey methodology – and a form to sign up for monthly barometer email updates and webinars. Each month, the Purdue Center for Commercial Agriculture provides a short video analysis of the barometer results. For even more information, check out the Purdue Commercial AgCast podcast. It includes a detailed breakdown of each month’s barometer, in addition to a discussion of recent agricultural news that affects farmers. The Ag Economy Barometer, Index of Current Conditions and Index of Future Expectations are available on the Bloomberg Terminal under the following ticker symbols: AGECBARO, AGECCURC and AGECFTEX.