🍟 California’s $20 min wage

Wednesday, September 13, 2023 by Snacks
It’s a double-double (Leonard Ortiz/Getty Images)

It’s a double-double (Leonard Ortiz/Getty Images)

It’s a double-double (Leonard Ortiz/Getty Images)

It’s a double-double (Leonard Ortiz/Getty Images)

Yesterday’s Market Moves
Dow Jones
34,646 (-0.05%)
S&P 500
4,462 (-0.57%)
13,774 (-1.04%)
$26,104 (+3.78%)

Hey Snackers,

Some conditions that can throw off a football game: rain, snow, and that bratty neighbor boy Sid? Disney+ said it’ll stream an NFL game between the Falcons and Jaguars that’ll be real-time-ish animated in the style of “Toy Story.” It’s unclear which team gets home-field advantage in Andy’s room.

Tech titans tugged down the market yesterday. Apple fell nearly 2% after rolling out its latest iPhone, and Oracle slid 13% (the most since 2002) after reporting cooling cloud sales. Analysts expect today’s consumer-inflation report to show stickier August prices.


1. Fast-food minimum wages are likely to rise in California as labor makes gains during hot strike summer

Animal Style Burger… with an extra-crispy paycheck. From In-N-Out fry cooks to McDonald’s managers, half a million people in California work in fast food (the most of any state). Now those workers are set to get a pay bump under a new deal between unions and the restaurant industry. Starting in April, fast-food chains in the Golden State with 60 or more US locations will have to pay workers at least $20/hour — up from the current minimum of $15.50, which is already among the highest in America. It’s not just a win for workers… 

Fries with a compromise… If approved by the state’s legislature, the deal would replace a law passed last year that restos basically hated. That law would’ve established gov’t-appointed advisory councils for the fast-food industry. The councils would’ve had extra oversight over restaurants — including the ability to raise the industry minimum wage to $22/hour. 

  • McDonald’s, which led the opposition to councils, seemed happy with the new $20/hour deal, saying it avoids legislation that hampers restaurant autonomy. 

  • Gov. Gavin Newsom plans to sign the bill if it passes, with a spokesman calling it “a win-win for workers and businesses.” 

  • Labor is notching wins in other industries, too, as #HotStrikeSummer intensifies. UPS staff nabbed a 48% raise and the United Auto Workers demanded a 46% bump.


A happy medium is rare… and we’re not talkin’ burgers. Cooperation may beat coercion in labor disputes, but we’re seeing some heated standoffs as corporate contract offers fall short of workers’ demands. The UAW could be poised to strike against the Big Three automakers this week as bitter negotiations drag on. In Hollywood, actors and writers have been on strike for months with no end in sight.


2. Pepsi introduces Gatorade Water, doubling down on the functional-bev trend with H2O

Not Glacier Freeze… Pepsi’s latest Gatorade flavor isn’t a flavor: it’s water. As an obsession with hydration takes over the nation, Gatorade Water wants to hit all the H2O trends. It’s alkaline and has electrolytes, and comes in bottles made of recycled plastic. The flavorless drink is set to hit shelves early next year as Pepsi continues investing in functional beverages.

  • Functional = providing more than just sugar/alcohol, enhanced by a healthy(ish) touch. Think: energy drinks with vitamins, water with electrolytes, and kombucha. 

  • Pepsi has added other functional bevs to its Gatorade portfolio, including Muscle Milk protein shakes, Fast Twitch energy drinks, and Gatorlyte (extra electrolytes) and Gatorade Fit (less sodium and sugar).

8 glasses/day… The functional-drinks market has expanded beyond sugary sports drinks to plain old agua. Sales of “functional water” (marketed as having extra benefits) are projected to hit $23B in 2028, up from $13B in 2020. As consumers drink less soda/alcohol, Liquid Death created a $700M company selling canned water, while fancy water bottles are now like status symbols (see: Stanley cups, Hydro Flasks). Not to mention TikTok’s #WaterTok trend, where H2Influencers use flavored packets to mix up concoctions like “salted caramel apple water” (the Gatorade Water label even has a little call-out to “blend for taste”). 

  • Fridge rivals: The functional-water category’s dominated by Coke-owned Smartwater, which has 27% market share, along with Nestle’s Essentia and Pepsi’s Lifewtr.


Hydration hasn’t hit its saturation point… As consumers increasingly prioritize getting their liters in, there may be more ounces/person for beverage brands to divvy up. And while health experts debate the benefits of functional drinks (electrolytes often = sodium), there’s one thing they agree on: staying hydrated is good for you.


3. Snacks Unpacked: Apple goes all in on USB-C with its priciest iPhone yet

Make space in the wire drawer… Apple’s switching the iPhone’s charging cable (again). This time, it's opting for the more universal USB-C port (already on new MacBooks, iPads, Android phones, and gaming consoles). The update was announced at Apple’s annual iPhone event yesterday, along with details about the new iPhone 15 and other gadgets.

  • One wire to rule ’em all: Apple’s USB-C switch wasn’t exactly voluntary. An EU law passed last year requires all consumer tech in the union to have the universal port by the end of 2024. It’s meant to save consumers $$ and decrease waste.

  • Ultra Pro Max(ier): iPhone 15 also comes with 4X more camera megapixels and the ability to capture spatial videos (optimized for viewing on Apple’s Vision Pro headset). The top-tier 15 will cost $1.2K (100 bucks more than the priciest iPhone 14).

  • Touching grass: Apple announced some sustainability updates, including ditching leather in iPhone and Apple Watch accessories. It said new aluminum Apple Watches will be its first carbon-neutral devices.

At 15, the iPhone is still growing … Globally, only about a fifth of all smartphones sold are iPhones (in the US, that jumps to over 50%, from 41% in 2018). And while Android sales have sagged as consumers pull back on costly upgrades, iPhone sales haven’t fallen as much. Apple’s hoping its newest lineup can turn its hardware-revenue frown upside down.

What else we’re Snackin’

  • Fold: DraftKings apologized after it promoted a 9/11-themed bet called “Never Forget.” The sports-betting platform pulled the ad after receiving widespread criticism on the 22nd anniversary of the terror attacks. 

  • Teach: Meta said it’ll donate Quest 2 VR headsets to 15 US universities to make classes more immersive. As consumer interest in VR cools, the tech giant hopes education could be another avenue for growth.

  • Spree: ByteDance launched TikTok Shop in the US, debuting live-video shopping and shoppable ads (picture: clickable blush). Social-commerce sales are forecast to grow 3X as fast as regular e-comm by 2025. 

  • Shot: The FDA OK’d new Covid vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, which should be available this month. The updated shots come as US hospitalizations tick up, though the #s are below last summer’s surge.

  • BadBeat: MGM Resorts stock slipped after a “cybersecurity issue” crashed its sites and took some of its slot machines and hotel services (like check-in) offline. Players got handwritten vouchers.

Snack Fact of the Day

After Mexico’s presidential election, each branch of its government will be led by a woman


  • August core CPI data

  • Earnings expected from Cracker Barrel and Semtech 

Authors of this Snacks own shares of: Apple, Disney, and Moderna

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