Over on Twitter, I got into a food fight with a person that thinks there is an evil food cabal out to undermine all of America. I couldn’t disagree more. Big corporations aren’t destroying the foods they want to eat, it’s big government.
Some background. I traded hogs($HE_F) on the floor of the CME($CME). That’s makes me a big industrial food guy right? Actually, all the guys in the pits hated Smithfield ($SFD). They competed with us. But, it doesn’t make me a small food guy either.
When a friend was trying to start a company, Tallgrass Beef, he walked into the cattle and hog pits on the floor of the CME($CME) and raised the money to start the company. Why did we invest? First, we saw an untapped market potential. Second, we all ate the beef and it was really good. Ironically, in the financial crisis of 2008, and since corn prices have hit industrial beef manufacturers margin, Tallgrass has performed beautifully. They are immune to corn prices, since it’s grass fed and finished. The rise in regular beef prices has made Tallgrass premium price look not so premium.
The lack of traction for Tallgrass isn’t because of anything but unfocused management, a huge educational mountain to climb, and the lack of large dollars it takes to build a national brand.
There is a small movement in America that is advocating regulation to turn our entire market into slow food and non genetically modified seeds. I am against that movement. Why?
Because it is taking away choice.
We ought to be free to choose. Not everyone puts the same value on organic vs mass produced food. Not everyone has the same taste. Not everyone can afford it. The other day I was at an organic food market. Dried navy beans were over $5 a pound. They may be the greatest navy beans in the world but I bought some mass produced ones for right around a $1 at a supermarket. Navy beans don’t really matter to me. But, to someone else they might. Each of us has a choice.