What in the World—Week of May 30

Ben & Jerry’s by drone
Ben & Jerry’s ice cream could soon be dropping (or landing gently) from the sky in a couple of U.S. markets after Unilever signed a deal with Flytrex. The drone delivery business has been operating under a special waiver from the FAA to make deliveries up to one mile from launch pads in four markets in North Carolina and Texas. The service will let consumers receive Ben & Jerry’s, Breyers, Magnum and other cold treats delivered to their home in three minutes. Flytrex has inked similar deals with Jersey Mike’s Subs, while Unilever has been expanding its ordering and delivery options through its virtual storefront “The Ice Cream Shop.” Earlier this month, it announced a deal with Robomart that will let consumers in L.A. order a mobile ice cream store to their location—like Uber, but with a van full of ice cream. “Our pilot program with Robomart is revolutionizing ice cream delivery for consumers and making it even faster to get our beloved brands to our ice cream fans,” said Russel Lilly, general manager, Unilever North American Ice Cream.

Chipotle tests Gen Z’s new favourite social media
Chipotle has started experimenting with “BeReal,” a social media app gaining popularity with Gen Z for being an “antidote” to other social media. BeReal asks users to send one post every day to friends to show what they are doing in that moment. Photos must be sent within two minutes of a randomly timed notification, and there are no editing tools. The app launched in late 2019, but has grown 315% since the start of the year, according to Axios. For its first BeReal post, Chipotle shared a promo code giving a free entrée to the first 100 people who used the service, reports MarketingBrew. “The response was incredible the first day,” said Candice Beck, Chipotle’s director of social and influencer. “All of our codes were gone in about 30 minutes, because it was new. And we’re still gaining followers. We just told people, and then every day after that, it was under a minute.”

Kim Kardashian gets chewed out over Beyond Meat ads
Beyond Meat has recruited Kim Kardashian in the new role of chief taste consultant, but the TV personality is being dragged on social media for “fake chewing” the foods in a video promoting the partnership. “I believe so much in the mission of Beyond Meat, that I’ve stepped in to help with my greatest asset: My taste,” says Kardashian at the beginning of a video promoting the partnership. It then goes on to show Kardashian eating an array of Beyond Meat products, including burgers, sausages and meatballs. But internet sleuths (are there any other kind these days?) noticed that the video always cut away before the star takes a bite. And there’s also a clip of her chewing contentedly on a burger that she’s holding in one hand, although there has clearly been no bite taken from the burger. “Her reaction is as fake as that food they want to call ‘meat,’” said one Twitter user. Others speculated that it was intentional to make the ads go viral. In a statement to NBC, Beyond Meat said that “of course, she eats Beyond Burgers (and Beyond Chicken Tenders and Beyond Sausages…) in real life and on set.”

Big cheese goes high-tech to fight fraudsters
The Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium (the official trade group for Italy’s so-called “king of cheeses”) is using a high-tech solution to put a dent in the estimated $2 billion worth of fake parmesan that hits the market each year. According to Food Navigator, the Consortium is partnering with Kaasmerk Matec to place tiny microchips (smaller than a grain of salt) in wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano. The Consortium has been using Kaasmerk’s cheese mark—which features an alphanumeric code and a QR code that help certify a cheese wheel’s origin for producers and consumers—since 2002, but says the chip technology is taking it to a “higher level.” The Consortium will add the smart labels to 100,000 cheese wheels—a fraction of the estimated 3.9 million wheels produced each year—in the second quarter as a final testing phase before deciding whether to make it a permanent part of the cheese’s production.

Walmart to review Juneteenth products
Walmart says it will review some of its Juneteenth products after facing a barrage of online criticism for commercializing the June 19 holiday celebrating the end of slavery in the U.S. According to The Wall Street Journal, the retail giant’s Juneteenth products include a special edition of its Great Value ice cream brand featuring the colours of the Pan-African flag and the words “Share and celebrate African-American culture, emancipation, and enduring hope.” Walmart is also selling Juneteenth-themed decorations, clothing, and books. The Daily Show correspondent Roy Wood Jr. recently tweeted a photo of some of the products, along with the message “Would you like some Juneteenth Ice cream on a Juneteenth plate as you sip your beer in a Juneteenth Koozie.” Juneteenth is a celebration of freedom and independence, said Walmart in a statement. “However, we received feedback that a few items caused concern for some of our customers and we sincerely apologize. We are reviewing our assortment and will remove items as appropriate.”

David Brown