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farmer sowing seeds

5@5: Farmers, seeds and data | How Gaia grew into a $50M business

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.

As crop prices fall, farmers focus on seeds

While some farmers return to old-fashioned seeds that aren't genetically engineered to meet demand in a tough farming environment, others are joining subscription services that use data collected from members to determine which seeds and pesticides will work best on their fields. The cost of seeds has nearly quadrupled over the last two decades, while prices for major crops have fallen three years in a row. Read more at The Wall Street Journal...


How this 30-year-old farm used turmeric and poppies to build a $50 million business

Retailers say Gaia Herbs, which grows some of its ingredients on a 250-acre farm in Brevard, North Carolina, is a hit with customers because of its background, mission and science. But it also has a rich history—Ric Scalzo spent less than $2,000 of his own money to start the company 30 years ago with seven elixirs, and he came up with a mechanism to use fresh herbs instead of dried. Here's a look at how it's continued to innovate. Read more at Inc...


Beer fans will love the new ingredient in area Whole Foods' bread

It's spent grain from Fegley's Brew Works in eastern Pennsylvania, and rolls and breads from the byproduct of the beer brewing process have already proven to be a hit at area Whole Foods stores. Read more at Lehigh Valley Live...


Plant breeders take cues from consumers to improve kale

Vegetable breeders at Cornell University are working to identify different culinary and aesthetic qualities of the leafy green that consumers favor, and breed for those traits. "The natural genetic diversity available in the species provides opportunities to further develop and promote a nutritionally important crop," the university says. Read more at Cornell Chronicle...


Nutrition for sale: How Kellogg worked with 'independent experts' to tout cereal

An Associated Press investigation turned up documents showing that Kellogg paid "independent experts" thousands of dollars a year to engage in "nutrition influencer outreach" on social media and with colleagues. Its so-called Breakfast Council also published an academic paper on breakfast and taught a continuing education class for dietitians. But critics say the company and its experts haven't always made it so clear that their work was sponsored. Read more at Chicago Tribune...

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