2023 Trends To Watch

The Lempert Report
December 23, 2022

Phil: So Sally, what's the trend that you're watching closely for 2023 and why? 

Sally: Phil, I put some thought into this, and I think what, what I'm looking at is what companies, what brands, what kind of karma they have, their company karma, what their story is and how they're communicating that to their shoppers. So when we talk about karma in the spiritual sense, it's the Buddhist and the Hindus believe that it is the sum of a person's actions in this existence. And what that decides their fate in future existence is. So if we apply that concept to companies, what we're talking about here is, are you making it a top priority to treat your employees fairly, making them feel appreciated, inspiring them to believe in your brand? Are you taking a serious look at the urgent T L C that our planet needs? And how is your company being a better steward to the environment? Are you contributing or providing resources to fight food insecurity and food equity? Your shoppers want to connect with your story, and they want to feel virtue in their purchases so much that they wanna publicly share it on social media. What brands and products resonate with their own values. Now, as we look at Gen Z, they're growing up, and this, this coming year, the oldest Gen z Gen Zer is gonna be 27, and they are shaping digital interactions with authenticity. So it's time to put away the smoke and the mirrors, because we want the raw feed, we want the emotional connection and the relatable qualities. I wanna know that my money is not spent in vain, but it contributes to a higher result, a higher purpose that I'm a part of. So tell me your story, brands and retailers, but tell it to me in less than three minutes with humor, creativity, music, and pop culture themes. 

Phil: Yeah, I, I think that your point about karma is just so important. And, and to build on that, For me, what’s keeping me up at night is labor. We’ve talked over the past couple of years about the shortages of truck drivers, poultry and meat processing workers, supermarket and restaurant workers and even how some cities like NYC are pushing to make the minimum wage for food delivery workers at $23/hr. We are seeing workers at Starbucks, Amazon, Hershey’s, Chipotle, Dollar General, Walgreen’s pushing to unionize. In fact, over the past 12 months ending October 2022 workers have filed more than 2,000 requests to hold elections to form labor unions. This is a good thing. Even though there are a lot of tensions at these and many other companies the truth is that many workers are stuck in low paying jobs, often without job security or benefits and can barely make ends meet. The pandemic shone a light on many worker’s substandard conditions and it’s the time – especially as many food companies are reporting record profits to even out the playing field. The average salary of a Fortune 500 CEO is $15.9 million a year and according to the AFL-CIO – the union I belong to through SAG-AFTRA, some of the CEO pay is just downright shameful. Peter Kern CEO of Expedia, the travel site, was paid $296 million in 2021, Andrew Jassy at Amazon $212 million, Rosalind Brewer at Walgreen’s $28 million, at Yum Brands (KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell) David Gibbs got $27 million, Walmart’s CEO got $25 million, PepsiCo’s $25 million, Coca-Cola $$24 million, $20 million each for the CEOs of McDonald’s, CVS, Starbucks $20 million, Kroger’s $18 million, at Dollar General, Hershey’s and Mondelez all around $16 million. By the way I rounded their pay to make it easier and I’ll stop there – but the reality is that as of December 11, 2022, the average annual pay for a poultry farm worker is $32,923 a year – that’s $15.83 an hour. At our supermarkets a cashier gets an average of $11, Deli Clerk $13, and Produce Clerk $13 an hour. What all this points to is added tensions in our workforce that I see playing out in 2023 with more unionizations, more strikes and hopefully a more balanced pay scale. The pandemic gave workers – especially those we dubbed as essential workers, a new transparency for all of us to see what they had to deal with – and permission to speak up.  

Phil: What's on your trend list for 2023 added to our social media feed right under this Lempert Report LIVE, and we'll review them over the next couple weeks and talk about them when we come back.