Category Archives: Food

A Major Shift From West To East Is Occurring As The Dollar Dies. Are You Prepared?

Americans need to shake off their FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) and start taking real steps to protect their wealth before the $USD is no longer the world’s dominant reserve currency. This involves converting USD denominated paper assets into physical Gold, Silver and a little Cryptocurrency to preserve your purchasing power … before the multi-polar world of tomorrow arrives.  

A big part of life on the other side of this event will involve dealing with wide spread shortages (including food) that accompany the high cost of imported goods that follow a credit and currency collapse, until America’s domestic manufacturing base can be brought back up. Think decades, not months or years to fully recover. This means you should be accumulating resources necessary to more easily stretch through this period while they are relatively cheap and plentiful in today’s dollars. Otherwise, you might find yourself living like the 99% are in Venezuela today.  

Enjoy the show …

 

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Michelle Obama Top School Lunch Ally Charged with Embezzlement

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A top school lunch reformer for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), who received praise from former first lady Michelle Obama, has been charged with 15 felony counts, including embezzlement and misappropriation of public funds.

David Binkle, 55, a former chef who ultimately oversaw a budget of hundreds of millions of dollars as he implemented Michelle Obama’s school lunch program in the LAUSD, pleaded not guilty to all the counts during an appearance in court on Tuesday and posted $220,000 bail, reports the L.A. Times.

Prosecutors allege that Binkle – who railed against childhood obesity with appearances on Tedx Talks – illegally directed about $65,000 of the school district’s funds into his private consulting firm, some of which eventually ended up in his own pocket.

The news report continues:

According to court documents, Binkle repeatedly misappropriated district funds in amounts ranging from $5,000 to $15,000 between 2010 and 2014. Prosecutors also allege that he forged an application to become a vendor with the district and failed to disclose outside financial interests.

Binkle, who became known for his use of the phrase “nasty, rotty” food, led the former first lady’s unpopular school lunch reform in the district even as students established their own black market of favorite – albeit “unhealthy” – foods.

In his efforts to implement the school lunch reform, Binkle offered lengthy contracts to providers such as Tyson Foods Inc., Jennie-O Turkey Store Sales, Goldstar Foods, and Five Star Gourmet Foods. Some of the vendors also agreed to annual donations of $500,000 to a healthy eating marketing program in the school district.

Problems with Binkle’s management, however, were noted as early as 2011 by George Beck, a former food-services deputy branch budget director, who reportedly brought his concerns to the district but was ignored and then laid off.

Nevertheless, in 2014, the LAUSD’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) accused Binkle of failing to disclose his ownership of California Culinary Consulting or payments from vendors who appeared at school nutrition events.

The OIG audit noted his firm presented “at minimum an appearance of a conflict of interest,” and his marketing program was “being mismanaged and at worst being consistently abused” by Binkle, who said he was “frustrated and baffled” by the allegations.

“I have done nothing wrong and have nothing to hide, since my actions were approved and encouraged from senior district officials, general counsel or the ethics office,” Binkle emailed the Times. “I am confident the truth and facts will show the allegations are unsubstantiated.”

Beck, however, reportedly said Binkle’s activity was a symptom of larger problems within LAUSD:

He negotiated these contracts with these firms with no oversight, nobody else participating. It was a huge procurement bureaucracy. There was one contract for vegetarian entrees, and I remember sitting in a meeting with 35 people. Binkle was there. He had one entrée that was $2.25 per item, and our reimbursement was less than the cost of the meal. Every meal that we sold, we were losing money.

Beck added he was surprised it took so long for prosecutors to uncover the problems with Binkle.

“All these internal control entities that were supposed to be exercising internal control were not doing it,” he said. “I brought it to their attention, and they did nothing about it.”

“While recognizing that everyone is innocent until proven guilty, the charges against Mr. Binkle are extremely upsetting as they do not reflect the professionalism, ethics and character we expect of all L.A. Unified employees,” the school district said in a statement.

In October of 2014, Breitbart News also reported a major scandal in the LAUSD in which former superintendent John Deasy – a former employee of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – resigned after pushing a $1.3 billion iPad buy for every child in the district from joint sellers Apple and Pearson, the latter of which had designed a companion iPad curriculum. The program was a huge failure and led to further scrutiny of Deasy’s close personal ties with Apple and Pearson.

In 2015, Deasy ultimately joined a training academy funded by one of his supporters, philanthropist Eli Broad. He became a consultant and the superintendent-in-residence for the Broad Academy, which trains urban public education leaders.

By Dr. Susan Berry | Breitbart

Church & State Sponsored Phases of Depopulation

Kevin Galalae explains the three phases of depopulation that make up the engineered demographic transition the international community has pursued since 1945.

Methods of Depopulation

Depopulation by Food

 

GMO’s Just Got A Lot More Frightening With Approval Of New Monsanto Product

Albertson’s Reveal Supermarket Meltdown as Global Deep-Discounters Promise Price Wars in US Markets

Aldi’s $5 billion bet at a brutal time.

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Aldi Market on Biscayne Boulevard In Miami Florida.

Today, Albertson’s explained in an amended S-4 filing for a debt exchange offering just how tough things have gotten for traditional supermarket chains.

As is so often the case, there is a private equity angle to it. Albertson’s was acquired in a 2005 LBO by a group of PE firms led by Cerberus. In January 2015, it acquired Safeway to eliminate some competition. It then wanted to sell its shares to the public. But in October 2015, as brick-and-mortar retail began to melt down, it scrapped its IPO.

The filing’s most revealing data are same-store sales on a quarterly basis through Q4, 2016, comparing year-over-year sales growth at stores that have been open in the current and prior year. I added the red line to show the trend since Q3 2015:

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The S-4 supplied some reasons for the decline:

Our identical store sales decrease in fiscal 2016 was driven by a decrease of 1.9% in customer traffic partially offset by an increase of 1.5% in average ticket size. During fiscal 2016 our identical store sales were negatively impacted by food price deflation in certain categories, including meat, eggs and dairy, together with pressure to maintain competitive pricing in response.

The two key factors boil down to competition, precisely what the Safeway acquisition was supposed to have eliminated:

  • A “1.9% decline in customer traffic.”
  • “Pressure to maintain competitive pricing in response.”

In other words, starting in Q1 2016, competition pushed previously strong same-store sales growth off the cliff.

Given a series of acquisitions by Albertson’s over the years, total sales rose. The following are sales for the 12-month periods:

  • Through Feb. 2015: $27.2 billion
  • Through Feb. 2016: $58.7 billion (includes Safeway)
  • Through Feb. 2017:  $59.7 billion (includes 29 Haggen Stores and 76 A&P stores)

At the end of 2013, the company had 1,075 stores. It then acquired, divested, opened, and closed numerous stores. By the end of 2015, it had 2,271 stores. And by the end of 2016, it had 2,324 stores.

So in 2016, the net store count increased 2.3% but revenues inched up only 1.7%. Hence the decline in same store sales.

During those three 12-month periods respectively, the company had losses before income taxes of: $1.38 billion, $541 million, and $463.6 billion.

And it had total debt of a breath-taking $12.3 billion as of February 25, 2017, up from $3.7 billion in 2013 before the acquisition of Safeway and the other chains.

It’s not going to get better anytime soon.

On Sunday, Aldi announced it would invest $3.4 billion to expand its base in the US to 2,500 stores by 2022. The privately held discount-grocery chain headquartered in Germany already has over 1,600 stores in the US. It also owns Trader Joe’s, which has an additional 464 grocery stores. In February, Aldi had announced that it would add 400 stores by the end of 2018 and spend $1.6 billion to “remodel and expand” 1,300 of its stores by 2020.

This would bring its newly announced investment in the US to $5 billion. The expansion will make Aldi the third-largest grocery chain operator in the US behind Wal-Mart and Kroger, the company said. And it’s going to compete on price.

“As we continue to expand and grow, our purchasing power continues to increase and allows us to bring products at better prices for consumers,” Scott Patton, Aldi’s head of corporate buying, told Reuters.

Another German grocery store chain, deep-discounter Lidl with 10,000 stores in 27 European countries has plans to open as many as 600 stores in the US, it revealed in May. Its first store will open on June 15. It expects to have 100 stores along the East Coast a year from now. It said it would undercut competitors by up to 50%.

This threat by arch-competitor Lidl stimulated Aldi’s thinking; CEO Jason Hart Hart said in a statement that Aldi’s prices also would be about 50% below those of traditional grocery stores.

Aldi has always focused on in-house brands to obtain the deepest price cuts. The company’s shares aren’t publicly traded, and quarterly earnings reports don’t cause any kind of ruckus.

Kroger, the largest supermarket chain in the US, booked a sales increase of 5% in 2016, but its net income fell 4.5%, and its shares, after a series of earnings disappointments, are down over 25% from the end of 2015, even as the rest of the stock market was booming.

Then there’s Wal-Mart Stores, the second largest grocery seller in the US. It’s experimenting with lower prices in 11 states and is hounding its vendors to undercut their competitors by 15%. According to analysts cited by Reuters, it’s willing to spend $6 billion on these efforts.

Target too has been plowing more aggressively into the grocery market. Online grocery sales are taking sales away from brick-and-mortar locations. Amazon is now more than just dabbling in it. Everybody wants into this $630-billion-a-year market.

Alas, over the past six years, sales at grocery stores are up a total of 14%, not adjusted for inflation, according to the retail trade report by the Commerce Department. Over the same period, the Consumer Price Index for food rose 14%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. So in inflation-adjusted terms, over the past six years, “real” sales have been flat.

The price war will be a godsend for consumers, at least for a while. But what gives?

Shares of Whole Foods Market have fallen 42% since late 2013 as it grapples with the new environment. And there have been 18 bankruptcies among US grocery store chains since 2014, according to Reuters, including Marsh Supermarkets and Central Grocers in May and Fairway Group Holdings, parent of the “iconic” New York chain Fairway Market, a year ago.

This is the environment that over-indebted Albertson’s and its private-equity backers hadn’t planned on finding themselves in. Beyond PE firm Cerberus, the backers include real-estate investors Klaff Realty and Lubert-Adler, REIT Kimco Realty, and shopping center owner Schottenstein Stores.

To unload the company in an IPO on the unsuspecting public and conniving institutional investors managing the unsuspecting public’s money, the backers must have a buoyant and blind stock market because for equity investors, this must be one of the most toxic combinations: a brick-and-mortar supermarket chain in the age of online sales that was bought by a PE firm, loaded up with debt as it became a supermarket roll-up, in a stagnant market that is attracting the biggest deep-discounters from around the world.

By Wolf Richter | Wolf Street