Fresh Take: A Kroger-Albertsons Merger, The Dangers Of Butter Boards And Seeking Climate Justice At Cop27

Food & Drink

What a week. The Supreme Court heard the case for and against California’s Prop. 12—and, by extension, whether the state could enforce higher welfare standards for pregnant hogs (per a statewide referendum which passed in 2018). We won’t know what the justices decide for a while, but there are implications for hog farmers everywhere. What continues to strike me most is how the upheld standard would be a major win, and yet still just be the start of many other major reforms needed.

Then another report magnified how one deal could impact nearly anyone who shops at grocery stores: Two of the largest U.S. grocers—Kroger and Albertsons—look poised to pull off a megamerger. Talk about a supermarket sweep.

It all has reminded me that, especially in this food industry dominated by lots of consolidation, transparency as well as journalistic scrutiny help to make a system healthy. Which brings me to my book, which is now coming out in less than two months and got another write-up this week. Kirkus Reviews called it “convincing, often enraging, and no more optimistic than the facts call for.”

P.S. Anyone got recommendations for dinner in Greenville, North Carolina? A top-secret reporting trip is bringing me there next week, and I’ve already made plans to hit B’s Barbecue and The Skylight Inn. But I need one more spot that’s good for nighttime. Let me know, and expect a fair amount of Southern foodways inspiration in newsletters to come.

—Chloe Sorvino, Staff Writer

Pre-order my book, Raw Deal: Hidden Corruption, Corporate Greed and the Fight for the Future of Meat, out December 6 from Simon & Schuster’s Atria Books.

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What’s Fresh

Why A Kroger/Albertsons Merger Is A Bad Idea. Grocery giants Kroger and Albertsons are reportedly in talks to merge. But there are many reasons why regulators may not want this combination to happen, argues Errol Schweizer.

The TikTok Butter Board Trend: Here Are The Dangers. If you search TikTok for the hashtag #butterboard, you’ll get a butter-load of videos with a total of 236.9 million views and counting. Be cautious, writes Bruce Y. Lee.

Caribbean Countries Will Be Seeking Climate Justice At COP27. In November 2022, Caribbean leaders will attend the UN Climate Conference to collectively advocate for the most vulnerable region in the world to climate change, and will request funding to help pay for what has become an out-of-control climate-related debt crisis, reports Daphne Ewing-Chow.

How One Billionaire Is Producing 75,000 Liters Of Clean Water A Day In Africa. The Forbes Video team explains how a nonprofit has installed 2,500 solar power systems in schools across 25 different countries.

Leveraging Women-Owned Businesses Can Maximize Meeting New SEC Climate Rules Women-owned small businesses may be a secret weapon in the supply chain, especially in light of the SEC’s new climate risk disclosure rules. Companies could leverage them to gain a range of benefits, while complying with those new rules, writes Joan Michelson.

Hello from the front of the tomato sauce wars! I just had to grab a slice of this tie-dye pizza, made with vodka sauce, marinara sauce and pesto from Rubirosa. I stopped by the restaurant on Mulberry Street in Manhattan’s Little Italy for a launch party to celebrate the debut of Rubirosa’s own jarred sauce line. It marked an escalation of the sauce wars: Rubirosa joins several others, including Carbone, that have recently started selling their signature sauces to the masses. These brands are attempting to displace Rao’s—which also started out as an iconic New York restaurant before finding success in the sauce aisle.

Chloe Sorvino leads coverage of food and agriculture as a staff writer on the enterprise team at Forbes. Her book, Raw Deal: Hidden Corruption, Corporate Greed and the Fight for the Future of Meat, will publish on December 6, 2022, with Simon & Schuster’s Atria Books. Her nearly nine years of reporting at Forbes has brought her to In-N-Out Burger’s secret test kitchen, drought-ridden farms in California’s Central Valley, burnt-out national forests logged by a timber billionaire, a century-old slaughterhouse in Omaha and even a chocolate croissant factory designed like a medieval castle in northern France.

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