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[email protected]: Amazon expected to open department stores | What molecular farming could mean for the next vaccine

Getty Images Amazon buys Whole Foods
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.

Amazon helped crush department stores. Now it reportedly wants to be one

Amazon has plans to open physical stores that resemble the U.S. brick-and-mortar department store model it played a huge role in upending, reports CNN. Starting with Ohio and California, insiders say to expect Amazon-branded stores that are roughly 30,000 square feet (that's less than a third of the size of a traditional department store). The company will sell clothing, household items, electronics and other merchandise at the stores—and of course, its in-house brands will be featured prominently.

Molecular farming means the next vaccine could be edible and grown in a plant

Did you know plants have the potential to synthesize medications and vaccines? That's the goal of molecular farming, which uses genetic engineering and synthetic biology to introduce brand new biochemical pathways into plant cells—or even whole plants—essentially turning them into single-use bioreactors. They work fast, they're cheap to grow, they resist common forms of contamination prevalent in other drug manufacturing processes and they're environmentally friendly; what's not to love about this whole concept? Learn more at Singularity Hub.

Want people to eat less meat? Fake burgers probably won't cut it

Alternative meat companies currently make up less than half a percent of the meat sector, but they're growing rapidly. However, all the emphasis and investor dollars surrounding the alternative and lab-grown meat markets reinforce the false belief that meat has to be at the center of every single meal, when fake burgers actually have a limited environmental impact. “If we really want to help people cut down on the amount of meat they are eating, we need to stop subsidizing cattle feed, stop giving tax breaks to cattle ranchers, require feedlot owners to pay the costs of cleaning up the mess they make and issue dietary guidelines with clear ‘eat less meat’ messages,” one expert said to Mother Jones on the topic.

Tia Mowry felt disregarded by healthcare, so she launched her own wellness brand

As a Black woman growing up with endometriosis, Tia Mowry (of Tia and Tamera fame) felt mistreated and maligned by the conventional health care system. One thing led to another and now the actress has launched her own wellness brand that "embodies Mowry’s belief that individualized lifestyle changes are the answer to improved health," per AdWeek. The brand, called Anser, grew 30% in its second year and has attracted over 70,000 Instagram followers; it is also now retailing at Target. At its core Anser champions three things: accessibility, inclusivity and authenticity. 

From niche to mainstream: Why fake meat needs a new name and a better story

Faux meat brands must master the power of storytelling if they want to accelerate the move from niche to mainstream. This entails several things: understanding what audience the company is aiming for beyond vegans and vegetarians (in this case, flexitarians), positively framing meat analogues via language and making the brand's mission easy to comprehend. This goes for lab-grown meat, too, because these brands need to establish their animal proteins as the new—and naturally better—normal. What people eat is such a touchy subject that it will likely take radical innovation from all parties to bust into the mainstream. Fast Company has the scoop.

TAGS: General 5at5
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