Blue Apron IPO Image credit: Blue Apron

[email protected]: Meal kit industry encounters growing pains | Kind's newest kindness project is teaching kids empathy

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.

The meal-kit industry is at a crossroads. Will it ever figure out what we really want?

Just a few days before Blue Apron’s IPO, Amazon changed the game. The meal kit company's valuation shrank, its cofounder stepped down and then some investors sued the company. But then Blue Apron’s competitor Plated changed the game again when it got acquired by Albertson’s. Blue Apron’s shares began to recover.  So it is hard times or good times for meal kit companies? It depends on the day. And what will emerge as the best model? Eric Thoresen, principal of consulting and research firm Technomic, says the composition of the market and its key players will change over the next few years. Read more at Chicago Tribune…

 

Kind’s foundation is investing $20 million to teach kids empathy

When Daniel Lubetzky started snack bar company Kind, he did it partly as a way to encourage people to be kinder to each other and to themselves. Now, the company’s foundation, which was launched in 2015, is putting $20 million behind a video-conferencing and learning technology to inspire kindness by exposing school-aged children to different ways of thinking. The program, Empatico, includes interactive lesson plans designed to expand understanding of different cultures and social norms. Two schools piloted it earlier this year, and about 100 teachers in 13 countries are already signed up. Read more at Fast Company…

 

Regenerative Organic certification

Rodale Institute is leading a group of farmers, ranchers, nonprofits, scientists and brands in developing a regenerative organic certification that it hopes will increase soil quality, animal welfare and fairness for food workers. NSF International is currently facilitating a public comment process on the standard. The certification will not compete with or negate organic standards, Rodale says, but instead support them and facilitate practices that go even further in protecting the Earth and farmers. Read more at Rodale Institute...

 

Trader Joe’s keeps calm and carries on

TJ’s, too, slowed its growth this year as the retail environment continues to be dynamic and characterized by stiff competition. Fourteen new stores were opened—down from its average of 23 new stores per year over the last 10 years. Read more at Own Brands Now…

 

Leonardo DiCaprio is investing in the plant-based food startup Beyond Meat

The actor adds plant-based meat to his investment repertoire, which also includes sustainable fish company LovetheWild and snack brand Hippeas. Read more at Fortune…

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