Two years ago, as I stumbled across the chaotic and increasingly desperate housing market, I crafted a plot: I could buy an Airstream instead, give up my apartment, and hit the road with my dog and my laptop.
I was bidding goodbye to my life in New York, which, at that moment, didn’t include much besides working from home, walking in the park, and trying like hell to avoid the plague. I was far from solitude. #Vanlife exploded on social media. Recreational vehicle sales went through the roof. People who had the means to travel found a way to get out and try something new.
With fuel prices hovering at just over $2, there were quite a few holdings in the way of the no-link fantasy.
But even as the national average hovers around $5 a gallon — more than double what it was in 2020 — Americans don’t seem to have fallen in love with the road.
Unlike some other pandemic-era benefactors like Zoom and Peloton, whose fortunes have waned and dwindled in step closer to Covid-19, the RV industry is a pandemic winner that is still, somewhat surprisingly, thriving:
- Recreational vehicle production in North America reached an all-time high in 2021, with more than 600,000 vehicles produced, according to the RV Industry Association. 2022 will be the second best production year ever.
- Thor Industries, which owns Airstream and Jayco, said sales are up about 35% in the past three months compared to the same period last year.
- Thor still has nearly $14 billion in RV orders backlog.
So, how do road-bound citizens cope?
Shorter trips, for starters.
Then three characters cough when it’s time to get full. A couple Matt spoke to said it could cost them nearly $900 to fill their 150-gallon diesel tank.
Even with gas prices soaring, RVShare, an Airbnb-like rental site, had its biggest day of bookings this year.
Travelers may be willingly eating the extra fuel costs because everything is, well, more expensive, including airfares and house prices. The fullness right now can be a pain, but we can run our fingers through that the days of $2 gas may come again. Meanwhile, there are mountains to see and Wi-Fi hotspots to look for.
(For the Hound and I, we’ve stopped fantasizing about #life’s life. The rest of that story can wait for my diary…)
When news of the food breaks out, the always hungry Nightcap team gets busted. Welcome to Snacktime, America.
First: The Kellogg Company is disintegrating
- The 116-year-old cereal and snack giant is divided into three different companies that I decided to call The Cereal One, The Snacks One, and The Veg One (or what the company called a “Pure-play-based plant”), which base their brand. MorningStar Farms).
- The real new names for the spin-off companies are TBA.
- Kellogg’s shares jumped more than 2% Tuesday because, in theory at least, the sub-offer maneuver should allow each of the new companies to grow at its own pace.
- The tent pole for a trio by far will be The Snacks One, which includes Pop-Tarts, Nutri-Grain, Pringles and Cheez-It. My colleague Jordan Valinsky writes that this segment accounts for 60% of Kellogg’s sales.
- The biggest trend: It’s the split-to-build style we see a lot these days in the corporate world (and any number of gyms). See also: Johnson & Johnson, Toshiba, and GE, which have announced similar plans.
Speaking of snacks…
- Mondelez, the food giant that counts Oreo and Triscuits among many others in its portfolio, is buying Clif Bar for $3 billion.
- This puts Clif and Luna’s brands, beloved by endurance athletes around the world (Carrot Cake Clif to win), under the big-name company’s umbrella for the first time since its founding in 1992. As Clif says, the bar was born at the end of a grueling bike ride when The founder could no longer stifle the athlete-focused bars that were on the market at the time.
- For Mondelez, the move expands its presence in the ever-competitive field of snack bars.
It’s dessert time…
- In the grand tradition of eating one food and smashing it into another, Krispy Kreme takes its signature sugary pastries a new path with glazed ice cream.
- It’s rare for me to feel completely neutral about two genres I adore. donuts? perfect. ice cream? Zero notes. Ice cream glazed donut? I don’t know… Was this flavor combo really missing from my life? Mostly not. But, as Krispy Kreme well knows, we people love an exotic blend that isn’t risky either — enough novel to pique our interest but so low stakes that it can’t really hurt the brand even if it’s an unmitigated disaster.