SHI 1.24.23 — Meat Beyond Impossible!

SHI 1.18.23 – Is Our Economy Slowing?
January 18, 2023
SHI 2.8.2023 — Efficiency is the Word
February 8, 2023


“Where’s the beef”?


Imagine this:   You are at Mastros, with good friends, celebrating a birthday.  You are a vegetarian … but the sides are SOOOOO good, you’re OK with the restaurant choice.   You open the menu you’ve seen a dozen times before.  Surprised, you notice a brand-new “section” the otherwise typical menu:  “CELL-CULTIVATED STEAKS.”

Huh?   What the heck is that?   “Cell cultivated?   Yep.  Get ready.  They are coming-soon to an expensive steak house near you.   As a committed vegetarian, would you try one? 



Chickens and lobsters are rejoicing!” 



Soon, even cows may join the celebration.  Upside Foods makes chicken.  Literally

They fabricate it from a “small sample of healthy chicken cells.”   Not by slaughtering a living, healthy chicken.   Interesting right?  

Take a peek at their website (right click, open in a new tab):

And they posted letter to ‘Chickens of the World’:

Tongue-in-cheek and light-hearted, sure, but they are very serious.  But they want chickens to hear the great news know:  


“UPSIDE Foods makes cultivated meat. It’s not vegan or vegetarian, it’s delicious meat grown directly from animal cells. That’s right—animal cells. It might sound crazy, but it’s based on a simple principle: animal cells are the building blocks of the meat that we humans love so much.” 


The FDA has already accepted UPSIDE’s “safety conclusion.”  So faux-chicken will be available soon:  following a USDA inspection and label approval.  Very soon, it appears.  


Welcome to this week’s Steak House Index update.


If you are new to my blog, or you need a refresher on the SHI10, or its objective and methodology, I suggest you open and read the original BLOG:

Why You Should Care:   The US economy and US dollar are the bedrock of the world’s economy.  

But is the US economy expanding or contracting?

Expanding.    At the end of Q3, 2022, in ‘current-dollar’ terms, US annual economic output rose to $25.74 trillion.   Thru Q3, America’s current-dollar GDP has increased at an annualized rate exceeding 7%.   The world’s annual GDP rose to over $100 trillion during 2022.   America’s GDP remains around 25% of all global GDP.  Collectively, the US, the euro zone, and China still generate about 70% of the global economic output.  These are the 3 big, global players.


The objective of this blog is singular.


It attempts to predict the direction of our GDP ahead of official economic releases. Historically, ‘personal consumption expenditures,’ or PCE, has been the largest component of US GDP growth — typically about 2/3 of all GDP growth.  In fact, the majority of all GDP increases (or declines) usually results from (increases or decreases in) consumer spending.  Consumer spending is clearly a critical financial metric.  In all likelihood, the most important financial metric. The Steak House Index focuses right here … on the “consumer spending” metric.  I intend the SHI10 is to be predictive, anticipating where the economy is going – not where it’s been.

Taking action:  Keep up with this weekly BLOG update.  Not only will we cover the SHI and SHI10, but we’ll explore “fun” items of economic importance.   Hopefully you find the discussion fun, too.

If the SHI10 index moves appreciably -– either showing massive improvement or significant declines –- indicating growing economic strength or a potential recession, we’ll discuss possible actions at that time.


The Blog:

Why are lobsters partying along with the chickens?  Because Switzerland took the anti- “animal-cruelty” movement even further by banning the’ boiling of lobsters alive’ in 2018.  Lobsters in the Atlantic’s North Sea banged their ‘cloppers’ together in joy!  And now, people may be able to have their cake and eat it too, so to speak, because ‘cell-cultivated’ meats are on their way. 


‘Beyond Meat’ and the ‘Impossible Burger’ are so last year! 🙂 


The world is changing.  Yet again.  Right before our eyes.  At the same time that global geopolitical tensions and the ‘on-shoring’ of critical-industry manufacturing threatens to adversely affect the economic benefits of globalization and reduce consumer choice, new technologies, AI, and good-old human ingenuity promise exciting new ideas and opportunities.   

Soon we may also have the choice of lab-grown steaks!  Are you anxious to try one?  I don’t know if I am.  But I understand the attraction.  Experts assure us the current carnivorous world is bad for both our animal friends and the environment.  Animal cruelty and methane emissions are common topics in the media.  

So imagine a world where both became “so last year” – and meats were lab-grown.  But while you imagine that, consider this:   If animal ‘ranching’ as a business suddenly ended, how might US and global GDP be impacted?  What affect would this change have on farmers and ranchers?

The short answer is “massive.”   Probably as detrimental as the impact the car had on the horse and buggy.  

But while the change itself is massive, the damage would more likely happen over years as opposed to months.  Some portion of the population is probably chomping-at-the-bit to try lab-grown steaks.  Others – like me, for example – are less excited by the idea.  And even another group may be so resistant to change that they never give it a try.  Lab-grown meats, once the full slate of products are created and FDA approved will usher in an ‘evolutionary’ condition, not a revolution.  The outcome is similar but the timing is vastly different.   Revolutions are quick.  Evolution takes many years.  

Schumpeter was an Austrian born economist who in 1976 coined the concept of ‘”Creative Destruction.”  Essentially, Schumpeter believed capitalism is constantly changing.   The system, he opined, is inherent dynamic and innovative … and the “status quo” is continuously challenged by new ideas.  When they take hold, they “destroy” the old and replace them with the new. 

Schumpeter’s book, “Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy” argues that capitalism is never static.  Innovation is a continuous, never-ending process.  For example, horse and buggy transportation was ubiquitous until Ford’s “superior” Model T was introduced in 1908.   But as innovative at the Model T was for its time, vehicles are far different today.   And now we are in the early days of the electric vehicle revolution. 


Creative destruction reflects the continuous decay of the status quo.  Products or services are constantly evolving, changing, morphing.   Its essential principle is that old assumptions must be tested and broken, paving the way for innovation which benefits the greater good and humanity as a whole.


Progress is neither good or bad.  It simply is.  We don’t have to like it – and often do not.  However it is the way of the world, just as it always has been.   Things change.  That’s inevitable.  Lab-grown meat is coming.  Hmmm …..   😐

If UPSIDE has their way, the our opulent eateries, too, may soon fall victim to Schumpeter-ism.   Speaking of steakhouses, let’s see what this week’s SHI has to say about our economy.



The SHI is sizzling — at least, when compared to last week.   Last week the SHI10 came in at 230 … today we have jumped up to 355.   That’s a sizable move.   As you’ll see below in the longer ‘trend’ report, reservations are flying off the shelf in Philly and Dallas.   Expensive steakhouses seem popular today!

Here’s the longer term trend report:



Tomorrow morning we will find out if the fourth quarter, 2022 GDP was sizzling like the grills at The Ranch.   Interestingly, about 5 days ago the Atlanta FEDsGDPNow” forcasted a 3.50% (annualized) GDP growth rate in Q4.  Remember that is a ‘real’ growth rate.   Assuming an inflation adjustment of 4 or 5%, that would suggest nominal growth of around 8%.  That is sizzling.  Tune in tomorrow to get the facts …  

But make no mistake, even if Q4 GDP is a barn-burner, I believe the US economy is slowing.   We haven’t seen much of a change in the payroll numbers yet — and the next payroll report will post on Friday, February 3rd — but we do see an undeniable trend in the “temporary” labor force.  Take a look:



Clearly, demand for “temp help” is declining.   The trend we see above is obvious.   And so, if a reduced demand for temp labor is the proverbial “canary in the coal mine” for permanent jobs, it’s likely we will see a drop off in the non-farm payroll numbers on the 3rd.   This would be another sign of the slowing economy.  

Before that, we’ll have the latest FED decision on Wednesday, the 1st of February.  Will they “HOLD THE LINE!” or will they raise short-term rates one more time?   I expect them to raise.   But by a reduced amount — just a 25 basis point increase this time.  Keep an eye on this event. 

Oh … and speaking of Wednesday, the 1st of February … don’t expect a blog post.  The ski slopes beckon!    I’ll be ‘wooshing‘ and ‘shooshing.’   So expect the next SHI update on the 8th of February. 

 Until then, be well.

<:>  Terry Liebman

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