[email protected]: A-list investors back Brandless | Report: Chinese dairy company makes bid for Vitamin World

Each day at 5 p.m. we collect the five top food and supplement headlines of the day, making it easy for you to catch up on today's most important natural products industry news.

Why Steph Curry, Randi Zuckerberg and Jessica Seinfeld invested in this generic grocery store

More than 20 investors joined in a second tranche of Series B funding for Brandless, which brought the round’s total to $35 million. Participants included two Golden State Warriors players, Weight Watchers CEO Mindy Grossman, bareMinerals founder Leslie Blodgett and more. Brandless sells more than 250 products direct to consumer for $3 each, all of which are non-GMO and about half of which are certified organic. Read more at Fortune…

 

China’s Feihe International to buy Vitamin World: sources

Feihe, a maker of dairy products, will pay $28 million for the supplements retailer, according to unnamed sources cited by Reuters, if a bankruptcy court approves the sale. Vitamin World filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September and has already closed nearly 200 of its stores. Read more at Reuters…

 

Kroger’s culinary efforts seen ramping up in 2018

Kitchen 1883 in Union, Kentucky, opened in November and is Kroger’s first stand-alone restaurant operation. It operates as part of Kroger’s Culinary Innovation Team, which also oversees the Prep + Pared meal kit line and the forthcoming culinary innovation center, which will be used to train chefs and help them share ideas. “We have a real commitment to the meal space,” a Kroger spokeswoman said. Read more at Supermarket News…

 

Odwalla founder finds second life in Califia almond and plant-based beverages

Greg Steltenpohl started Odwalla as a way to fund his jazz band. After that company sold to Coca-Cola, he came across an opportunity to find a new life for the 20 percent of Cuties’ mandarin crop that went to waste because it was undersized or blemished. He started Califia Farms to find a way to use them. That partnership didn’t work out, so he instead turned to almonds, which turned out to be a great move. Read more at Los Angeles Times…

 

Elon Musk’s brother is helping millennials quit their desk jobs and become farmers

The number of farmers age 25 to 34 grew 2.2 percent between 2007 and 2012, according to the USDA data. And Kimbal Musk is doing his part to boost that number even more. His accelerator, Square Roots, helps millennials learn how to farm vertically inside a shipping container in Brooklyn. Read more at CNBC…

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