Bringing back the American economy is going to be very interesting for those of us who closely follow history, finance, and business in general. The country has navigated an unprecedented shutdown which makes the opening itself unprecedented. The shutdown caused huge shifts in economic activity, benefiting some sectors while destroying others. Few in the middle were left unchanged. This means the swing back will also be disruptive with additional winners and losers.
America’s food machine has been delivering one billion meals a day to the American public for many years now. It doesn’t happen by government decree, but by the grace of private enterprise. It’s been so efficient that Americans spend a smaller percentage of their take-home pay on food than the citizens of any other country on earth. Its efficiency is one reason why it’s not highly flexible. It’s a system in constant motion that’s choreographed with a maze of contracts for volume and time that service individuals, institutions, restaurants, the military, and many foreign countries. It’s an incredibly complex system that involves nearly every industry in the country and even some that left long ago for foreign shores.1
Most of the small, domestic, online meat businesses benefitted from the lockdown and media scaremongering. The emphasis on infections and deaths scared millions of people nearly to death. Adding to their life and death concerns is the current highly publicized prospects for food shortages—especially meats. Miles-long breadlines are common and people are storming grocery stores and online vendors. As a consequence, there are two questions all the online businesses are asking regarding the opening. “How long will it take for the intense level of fear to subside? Will there be permanent changes in consumer attitudes over the long-term?”
My feeling is that many people are aching to get back to normal, so much so that they will take excessive risks. For instance, Cruise Planners tells us that daily bookings for Carnival Cruise Lines jumped 600% after it announced on May 4 it would return to sailing this coming August. Compared to last year at this time, the number of new Carnival bookings is up 200%! Personally, with COVID-19 on the loose, I don’t get that.2 3
Local restaurants are seeing a resurgence in business that must be very gratifying to them after being closed down. As more patrons report to their friends and neighbors that they lived through the experience and didn’t get sick, more will certainly follow. But dining in sit-down restaurants is still going to be mostly for the venturesome types and those folks who refuse to cook at home. It’s definitely not going to be a practice where everyone participates in it at the same level they did before COVID-19. That’s because some people will be hesitant for many more months and they’ll really put the brakes on if the media starts reporting “soaring” death rates and more infections. (Of course, there will be more deaths and infections and the media will be relentless. The days of Douglas Edwards and Walter Cronkite are long gone.)4 5
As the country opens up and COVID-19 fades into history, all of the online grass-fed meat businesses are wondering if people will soon grow weary of using food to improve immunity and suppress or prevent chronic diseases. In most cases people are addicted to what they have spent years eating, drinking, and smoking. Few have the willpower to actually change their ways even when doing so means a healthier, more vibrant, and longer life. Therefore, most of them will revert back to their former diets and keep on visiting their doctors to get their necessary prescription drugs.
In spite of history, everyone I know in our tiny industry has tried to expand to meet what seems to be unprecedented and unlimited demand. The expansions involve infrastructure, livestock, storage facilities, inventories, personnel, and more capital. All of the grass-fed vendors are hoping that when the nation opens up fully, more people than ever before will be striving to stop heart disease, asthma, autoimmune issues, diabetes, cancer, obesity, and the many other diet-related chronic issues that make them so vulnerable to viruses, especially COVID-19 and even the flu.6
Time will tell as it always does. So, for us students of life, the months and years ahead will be most interesting as we watch humanity navigate its way out of the shutdown with its massive expansion of debts towards a full reopening with continuing media scaremongering. And most of all, will we see concerns for personal health and immunity increase?
From my historical perspective of science-based nutrition, I do not have much faith in the media, political leaders, medical professionals, and drug companies in helping create positive change regarding the nation’s diet. I’m also certain that the anti-meat crowd and other scaremongers who are marketing myths over science will continue to be the most influential advisors out there.
As always it’s up to us as individuals to be independent thinkers and actors who look out for our own best interests.
To your health.
Ted Slanker has been reporting on the fundamentals of nutritional research in publications, television and radio appearances, and at conferences since 1999. He condenses complex studies into the basics required for health and well-being. His eBook, The Real Diet of Man, is available online.
Don’t miss these links for additional reading:
1. Which Countries Spend the Most on Food? This Map Will Show You by Alex Gray from World Economic Forum
2.Carnival Bookings Drastically Increase After Announcing New Sailing Dates from Travel Pulse
3. When the Major Cruise Lines Plan to Restart Service from Cruise Industry News
4. Commentary: The Man Who Wasn't Cronkite by Bob Greene from CNN
6. The Importance of the Omega-6 Omega-3 Fatty Acid Ratio in Cardiovascular Disease and Other Chronic Diseases by Artemis P Simopoulos