5@5: Hazard pay ordinances lead to grocery store shutdowns | Retailers grow wary of Instacart

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

February 3, 2021

3 Min Read
grocery store covid checkout face mask
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Hazard pay ordinances cause retailers to shut down, go nationwide with hazard pay

While some retailers like Kroger have decided to shut down locations to avoid local ordinances mandating hazard pay for frontline grocery store workers, others, Trader Joe's for instance, are going nationwide with hazard pay and embracing the new (and notably temporary) labor standards. Still others are petitioning against these ordinances in more traditional ways: Seattle-based PCC Community Markets is asking the Seattle City Council to reconsider the Hazard Pay for Grocery Store Workers Bill on the basis that its margins have thinned with all the additional costs of COVID-19 protection for employees and the business cannot afford to pay workers an extra $4 an hour. PCC is already facing backlash for this move, with many calling for more diversity within the company's board membership as a first step toward retribution.

Instacart survived COVID-19 chaos, but can it keep delivering after the pandemic?

Following the unprecedented rise in demand for grocery delivery last March, Instacart found itself smack in the middle of a grocery delivery war with giants like Amazon. While it has no physical assets of its own, Instacart's intellectual property and legion of gig workers service retailers nationwide. But what once were trustful relationships have given way to suspicion; retailers are wising up to the amount of proprietary Instacart data they are missing out on and many worry about maintaining shopper loyalty. Get Instacart's founder's side of the story at Forbes.

Vilsack's second term at USDA must reform agency and tackle climate change, food insecurity and racial injustice

Ricardo Salvador, a senior scientist and director of the Food and Environment Program at Union of Concerned Scientists, has issued a statement urging Biden's pick for secretary of agriculture Tom Vilsack to prioritize climate action, consolidation within the farm economy and food insecurity as he enters this important role. Secretary Vilsack has indicated he will commit to rebuilding USDA's research capacity and champion scientific integrity within the organization.  

Impossible Foods cuts faux meat prices by 20% at grocery stores

Impossible Foods is on the fast track to accomplishing a feat many plant-based meat makers continue to struggle with: attaining price parity with conventional meat. The company announced it would be cutting the price of its alternative meat patties at U.S. grocery stores after doing so twice in 2020; this time around the suggested retail prices for Impossible Burgers will drop to $5.49. Reuters reports.

SNAP shaming at the health food store needs to stop

Arguments over how Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program participants should be permitted to use food stamps have waged for decades, with some arguing that so-called "luxury" items should be off limits and others responding that junk food like energy drinks are what needs to be banned. But this close monitoring of how SNAP recipients eat reinforces the idea that those who rely on food stamps are lazy and undeserving of the fresh, organic fare available to those in higher income brackets. It also fails to contend with the troubling fact that many food-insecure families live in food deserts, which already puts them at a disadvantage with regard to obtaining nutritious food. Head to Health for the full picture.

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