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5@5: Analysts not sold on Jana's ideas for Whole Foods | Food waste tech raises $2M

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.

Jana's call to overhaul Whole Foods supply chain has few takers

Jana Partners made headlines last week when it announced it had accumulated a more than 8 percent stake in Whole Foods Market and had some big ideas on how to overhaul the retailer's strategy and operations. One of those ideas was to move grocery distribution in-house and reduce dependence on its biggest distribution partner, UNFI. But some analysts and consultants say they don't see that proposition happening. For one, Whole Foods has relied heavily on building its physical presence and has a deep, 18-year relationship with the distributor, which supplies nearly one-third of its inventory. Plus, the retailer doesn't have sophisticated logistics and distribution processes in place like many other large retailers do. Read more at Reuters...


Full Harvest raises $2M to make ugly fruit and veggies valuable

An agtech company that's developed a software platform it thinks could create a market for would-be wasted produce has garnered interest from a number of venture capital firms. Full Harvest's platform connects food and beverage companies to farms looking to sell surplus or imperfect produce. The company says its vision is three-fold: reduce wasted food and resources, create new revenue for farms and lower costs for producing healthy foods. Read more at XConomy...


Study finds that farmers can cut pesticide use without cutting profits...sometimes

In a study of non-organic farms in France, researchers looked at how pesticide use, profitability and productivity were related. Their results suggest that 77 percent of farms could use less pesticides without hurting profitability—and some even showed a potential profit increase by reducing pesticide usage. However, doing so isn't as easy as it might sound; to compensate, farms would need to use other methods of pest prevention. And it's hard to imagine those results would translate to farms in the U.S., as the U.S. tends to have much larger farms that often use genetically modified seeds designed to work with certain pesticides. Read more at Modern Farmer...


Boulder County to proceed with GMO crop phaseout

Commissioners approved the latest version of a plan to phase out the growing of GMO corn and sugar beets on county-owned land by the end of 2019 and 2021, respectively. Read more at The Denver Post...


Bills reversing GMO pre-emption die in Oregon

Two bills that called for local governments in Oregon to be able to regulate genetically engineered crops died in the legislature this week. Most local governments in the state are prohibited from restricting seed, and the bills would have exempted genetically modified seeds from that law. Supporters of the bills feared cross-contamination among organic, conventional and GMO crops, while opponents said very few organic growers have reported crop losses from GMOs. Read more at East Oregonian...

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