5@5: The future of food sampling | USDA blocks schools from offering universal free lunch

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.

August 25, 2020

2 Min Read
woman sampling food product
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Shoppers miss grocery store samples. Brands miss them more

In-store product sampling is especially important for the small, emerging brands hoping to build a loyal consumer following, but doing so in the era of COVID-19 has been tricky to say the least. To boost sales and give shoppers back the opportunity to try new products, retailers like Costco are transforming the sampling experience to consist of closed packages of small portions of food (which ultimately isn't profitable) or implementing drive-thru samples. Some brands, however, are spending their resources on digital marketing and bypassing sampling altogether. Read more at Eater


USDA doubles down against allowing schools to serve free lunch to all children this fall

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Purdue has effectively stated that there is not enough government funding to give U.S. schools the ability to serve universal free lunch into the fall. In his letter defending the choice not to extend the current waivers, Purdue notes that nonprofits and charities could fill in the gaps for families unable to adequately feed their children. Anti-hunger advocates are fearful that such facilities will simply not be enough to handle the demand. Read more at The Counter...


As pandemic continues, US grocery consumers anxious about rising food prices, economic health

A recent consumer survey shows that while shoppers are increasingly worried about the rigor of COVID-19 safety measures in stores, they are also less likely to practice preventative measures like frequent hand washing. The study also determined that online shopping represents around 35% of all U.S. shopping occasions, and Walmart is still coming out on top in terms of shopper satisfaction. Read more at Supermarket News


Wildfires across northern California devastate farmers and farmland

Fires in California are currently wiping out harvests and farm infrastructure in the state's northern region, but many continue operating in order to support the nation's food supply chain. Although the fires occur every year, many farmers are still adopting practices that can help bolster them both financially and ecologically; these include diversifying crops and clearing defensible space. Read more at Civil Eats.…


If gene editing to ‘improve’ food sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is

Gene editing, as many in the natural products industry are aware, is very different from conventional breeding with regard to food. This is because gene editing alters how genes express themselves, which can result in high levels of toxins or even new allergens. Gene-edited ingredients, therefore, could be fatal to some if regulators allow them to be slipped into products without adequate labeling. Read more at The Herald

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