Losing Danone contracts compounds the dairy crisis for small farms in the Northeast
Danone revealed it would be ending contracts with 89 small dairy farms in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York this past August, devastating farmers, organic advocates and residents in the Northeast region. Civil Eats explains how the decision was not only a blow to an industry that has been struggling for years, but also mirrors a greater national conversation around corporate consolidation and monopolies in agriculture. Basically, big organic dairies in Western states are able to produce cheaper organic milk as well as take advantage of loopholes in the organic process that allow them to further cut costs; Danone appears to have taken note of this and is essentially replacing its small farms with these huge Western CAFOs.
Cost of breakfast commodities hits 10-year high
The prices of ingredients for classic breakfast products are rising consistently thanks to challenges facing global food production, processing and transportation coupled with higher demand from the pandemic rebound. Futures prices for coffee, milk, sugar, wheat, oats and OJ have increased 26% since mid-year and 63% since 2019, and some industry analysts believe that persistently higher costs will keep prices food prices elevated well into 2022. The growing consumer shift from "just in time" buying to "just in case" buying is creating scarcity in wheat, coffee and sugar, while the breakfast at home trend has cemented a firm demand for milk and orange juice. The Food Institute has the data.
Plastic-free shopping is making a comeback after pandemic derailed low-waste options
According to Yahoo! News, stores that had plastic-free policies instated pre-pandemic are slowly transitioning back, and many have noted a bump in consumers' interest in low-waste lifestyles and purchasing habits. Additionally, state policies that have been enacted since the beginning of the pandemic—including bans on plastic bags and plastic takeout containers as well as legislation shifting the cost of handling waste to corporations—have helped this crucial transition back to a low-waste business model. One big hurdle facing no- and low-waste stores? The prevalence (and stickiness) of extremely wasteful forms of online ordering and home delivery.
Once-hot food and beverage IPOs lose their sizzle as investor enthusiasm fades
A review of 13 food and beverage companies that have gone public since July 2020 shows all but one of the listings are trading below where they first came to market. Swedish oatmilk behemoth Oatly and pasture-raised egg producer Vital Farms' stocks are both down about 25%, while indoor greenhouse operator AppHarvest has dropped a whopping 76% from the day it closed its SPAC merger. Biltong maker Stryve, which recently announced the departure of its co-CEO, and crop genomics platform developer Benson Hill have lost about 40% of their value. Food Dive has more details.
Memphis gas station moratorium part of effort to solve food deserts
In some areas of Memphis, there are more gas stations than grocery stores. While a citywide moratorium placed a hold on new gas stations, businesses are still seeking permission from the Memphis City Council to open against the wishes of local communities. In some of Memphis’ poorest neighborhoods, gas stations serve as the nearest and sometimes the only stores offering groceries for nearby communities, although it's mostly unhealthy fast and convenience foods at these locations. Now, some organizations are seeking to use the cheap land located in low-income neighborhoods to create markets that local residents can sustain themselves, in addition to building community gardens. Tennessee Lookout reports.