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🐄 Bad news at the butter churn

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The Hustle

The real home of Stranger Things’ Byers family is for sale in Georgia. The house is listed for $300k, but reportedly needs serious renovations.

In today’s email:

  • Butter is in short supply.
  • Chart: Self-checkout’s rise.
  • Weekend Reads to pair with some bacon soda.
  • Around the Web: How to be persuasive, why we mind wander, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s podcast to hear about our current butter problem, the 2011 Norwegian butter shortage, Avatar’s return, and more.

The big idea
butter

We’re nearing a butter meltdown

This holiday season, grandma’s favorite sugar cookies might be missing a crucial ingredient.

While inflation has infiltrated much of the grocery store, few items have been affected more than butter, which, according to The Wall Street Journal, could spell a holiday disaster.

The problem starts with cows

Rising costs for feed and labor have led farmers to reduce their cattle herds, causing a series of ripple effects:

  • Milk production was down 1% through June, compared to a typical annual growth rate of 1.5%-2.5%.
  • The dairy pecking order gives bottlers first priority; then manufacturers of ice cream, yogurt, and cheese; then butter churns, which have been left in short supply.

Making matters worse, butter churns usually produce most of their butter in the first half of the year, storing it in preparation for the holidays (AKA baking szn).

How bad is it?

Some might say we’re nearing a meltdown:

  • Butter prices are up ~25% YoY, trailing only eggs — the leading grocery store inflation item, up ~40%.
  • Butter in cold storage facilities was down 21% in July to its lowest level since 2017.

Butter producers are telling retailers not to offer heavy discounts during the holidays in case they can’t replenish supply, and some bakers are now hoarding butter to build up their own “butter army” for the holidays, per WSJ.

On top of all this, the latest foodie trend, with 10.5B+ views on TikTok, is charcuterie-style “butter boards.”

Of course, a solution to all this would be turning to margarine.

JK, we’re not insane.

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TRENDING
eyeball wearing a hat

Haha: Clips of a new trombone rhythm game are popping off. It’s probably not what Beethoven intended, but it is incredible.

SNIPPETS

FedEx will hike delivery rates and make several cost-cutting moves in 2023. The company shook the market last week after reporting global declines in package volume.

Epic Games built an ultra-lifelike digital alter ego of NBA player Luka Doncic, dubbed Luk.AI, to take over his TikTok.

Frances Haugen, the Facebook whistleblower, is launching an initiative to study social media’s harms and identify ways to improve.

James Cameron’s 2009 film Avatar returns to theaters today ahead of its upcoming sequel in December.

Amazon’s “Thursday Night Football” averaged 13m viewers, per Nielsen, though Amazon — paying ~$1B/yr. for the streaming rights — claims it got 15.3m.

Kittyhawk, Google co-founder Larry Page’s electric air taxi startup, is done. Wisk, its air taxi partnership with Boeing, is still on.

Instagram is testing a filter that will prevent users from DMing each other unsolicited nudes.

Tesla recalled nearly 1.1m cars due to quick-closing windows that could pinch fingers. It will fix the issue with an over-the-air update.

Digital marketing time-savers: Peep this megacompilation of case studies from Trendsters who know their shit, including keys to six-figure product launches, nailing TikTok ads, and more.

Chart
precent of grocery store transactions at self-checkout

Olivia Heller

We’re still figuring out self-checkout

There are few things more awkward than a self-checkout machine announcing to the whole store that you’ve placed an “unexpected item in the bagging area,” requiring a human worker to remedy the situation.

Even as two-thirds of shoppers say the machines have failed them, food retailers are adding more tech to the in-store grocery experience, with self-checkout front and center.

  • Self-checkout accounted for 30% of US grocery transactions in 2021, up from 18% in 2018.
  • Some chains, like Walmart, Kroger, Dollar General, and Albertsons are testing self-checkout-only stores.

The machines, with $14k-$40k price tags, can cut costs for retailers and may be necessary — grocery employee turnover was 48% in 2021. It also offers customers some extra speed and reduced human interaction.

We, for one, are pro-self-checkout because of the hilarious comedy sketches it has inspired.

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Free Resource

Five go-to-market research templates

All you need to start scrutinizing your customers and competitors is a keen eye and some good WiFi.

Take HubSpot’s five-piece market research kit and start competitively analyzing like a beast.

The kit includes templates for:

  • Surveys and focus groups
  • Crisp presentations
  • SWOT and Five Forces analysis

Keep your product in focus with these frameworks.

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recs
Weekend Reads

Welcome to Weekend Reads…

… Recs to pair with your Friday margs, Saturday cup o’ joe, or Sunday bacon soda.

ICYMI:

  • Mark explored the molten-cheese family empire responsible for the ingredients in millions of orders of ballpark nachos last year.
  • Jacob wrote about how online delivery pioneers Instacart and Amazon are now eyeing physical shopping carts.
  • The Hustle blog rounded up 15 companies using their power to do good for the communities and environment around them.

Spot the Fake:

  • Apple is reportedly planning on bringing back wired headphones in 2023.
  • Interstate 75 in Florida was covered in Coors Light on Wednesday. Better or worse than alfredo sauce? Tomatoes?
  • Tesla offices are “buzzing” with plans for a humanoid robot, dubbed Optimus.
  • A shipment of baby wipes last month turned out to be $11.8m+ worth of cocaine.
AROUND THE WEB

🪐 On this day: In 1846, German astronomer Johann Gottfried Galle discovered Neptune at the Berlin Observatory.

🧠 That’s interesting: Why we get distracted — AKA “mind wandering.”

🎧 Podcast: Find out how Abstrakt CEO Greg Reffner learned to prioritize and manage up on this episode of Blissful Prospecting.

🎵 Woah: What happens on the internet every minute.

🐈 Aww: And now, whatever this is.

Shower Thoughts
  1. “‘Boxing gloves aren’t gloves, they’re mittens.”  SOURCE

  2. “Every hollow chocolate bunny is carrying a pocket of air from somewhere else in the world.”  SOURCE

  3. “You have never seen an ice cream truck at a gas station.”  SOURCE

  4. “Blimps are one of the only forms of advertisement people are actually excited to see.”  SOURCE

  5. “When you dress up to go to a fancy restaurant, you become a part of their decor.”  SOURCE

 
via Reddit
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Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen, Juliet Bennett Rylah, and Rob Litterst.
Editing by: Mark “I can’t believe it’s not butter” Dent.

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