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.

New Hope Network staff

August 23, 2021

3 Min Read
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Crypto comes for food tech

Last Thursday, fermented dairy protein maker Brave Robot announced that you can now pay for the brand's pints of ice cream with cryptocurrencies; its direct-to-consumer website will accept payments in Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, DAI, Ethereum, Litecoin or USD Coin. This could definitely end badly for the company, but it's an indication of just how far cryptocurrencies have with regard to reaching mainstream acceptance. Brave Robot cited younger generations' enthusiasm about these methods of payment as a huge reason for accepting them. Would you consider taking payment via digital currencies? The Spoon has the scoop.

The farmers market is moving online

Farmer-specific e-commerce apps and services such as GrazeCart, Farmdrop, Farmigo and GrownBy offer the direct-to-consumer sales, customizable CSAs, preorders and delivery that farmers markets don't, and they've been around for years. However, this tech offered a whole new world of possibilities after the pandemic began; farmers who leaned into their newfound relationships with these tech-based distribution platforms are now reporting massive growth as a result and some are even unwilling to go back to the old model. This makes sense: Farmers markets across the U.S. have seen less foot traffic even while interest in locally sourced food has grown. The Verge reports.

Colleges rush to sign students up for food stamps, as pandemic rules expand eligibility

Food insecurity can have a huge impact on students’ academic performance and wellbeing. This is why colleges are elated about new expansions to federal food aid laws that allow students with an expected family contribution of zero on their federal finacial aid report can apply to CalFresh (that's California’s name for the federal food assistance program). The Counter delves into the backstory of one such student, and finds that most if not all educators are recommending Congress make these changes permanent.

Is it time to break up Big Ag?

This scathing piece from The New Yorker explains just how similar the evils of Big Tech are to the evils of Big Ag, although one could say consumers are more concerned right now about the former as it has had more of a media focus over the past few years. Tom Vilsack, Biden’s Secretary of Agriculture, is expected to spearhead this movement as it relates to agriculture after a disappointing run in the same role under the Obama administration. The small farmers interviewed in this article point out that saving small-scale farming could also mean bringing life and stability back to America's most rural and destitute counties.

Organic food has become mainstream but still has room to grow

Surveys show that 82% of Americans buy some organic food, and availability has improved. So why do overall organic sales add up to a mere 6% of all food sold in the U.S.? And because organic farming has many benefits, including conserving soil and water and reducing use of synthetic chemicals, can its share grow? The answer, according to The Counter, lies both in the higher price of these products and the need to grow larger quantities and more diverse organic products, which will require more organic farmers than the U.S. currently has.

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