Commodity Blog

Dec 13 2021

The Food Biz Episode 17: Economic Extravaganza with Angel Rubio

On this week’s episode of The Food Biz, hosts Kristyn Tarpey and Ryan Nelson are joined by Angel Rubio, Senior Data Analyst at Urner Barry Consulting, a division of Urner Barry which specializes in customized reports, forecasting, quant, and quantitative analysis. The three discuss supply chain issues, India’s competitive advantage on shrimp exports, trends in consumer spending, and much more.

To kick off the episode, Angel Rubio discusses his career journey with Urner Barry.  He started as a reporter in 2006 for the seafood side.  Around 2010 he created Urner Barry’s Mexican Beef Report.  A few years later, in 2014 he began leading Urner Barry Analytics.  He then left the company for a few years and came back in 2020, where he began working in the consulting division.  
The three then jump into a discussion on the differences in the seafood and meat markets.  Angel explains that 80% of all of the seafood we consume in the US is imported.  On the beef, chicken, and pork side, most of it is sourced domestically.  So the problems are not from the shipping containers overseas, but rather from the trucking situation in the US. 

Kristyn asks if Angel thinks the increase in prices is here to stay or if there’s a chance they’ll come back down.  Angel believes that some of the food prices are settling and going back to their normal seasonal behaviors, but at a higher structural point.  On a higher level, there is a structural change in the overall economy where people are allocating more of their funds to their food budget and are decreasing their spending in other sectors.  

Ryan then asks Angel why a lot of shrimp is imported from India.  Angel explains that India has a competitive advantage - with their weather, they can farm year-round, with a large amount of coastal land they have the ability to farm close to the coast, and they have low labor costs.  Ecuador is another large producer of shrimp and Angel believes they will be the largest producer of shrimp in the world this year.  

The conversation then transitions into a discussion on high food prices - specifically the increased cost of food for Thanksgiving this year.  Angel thinks that at this point, with the amount of disposable income that consumers have, more people are willing to spend more during the holidays this year.  This leads to a discussion on how consumers are spending their time and money.  Angel believes that some of these changes were already coming - but the pandemic accelerated them.  For example, the meal kit industry’s growth had stalled, but by offering an alternative to grocery shopping during the pandemic, they experienced accelerated market growth.

The three wrap up the episode by continuing the discussion on consumer trends that were accelerated by Covid-19.  Make sure to listen to the entire episode on Spotify or in the Apple Podcasts App!  While you’re there, don’t forget to subscribe. Also, feel free to reach out to us by email at with any discussion topics, questions, comments, or overall feedback; Ryan and Kristyn would love to hear from you!

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