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5@5: A grocery merger in the works? | Fermentation and food tech

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.

Albertsons said to weigh merger with organic grocer Sprouts

Citing "people with knowledge of the matter," Bloomberg reports that the grocery chain Albertsons has had preliminary talks with Sprouts Farmers Market in recent weeks about taking it private and adding it to the Albertsons portfolio. Albertsons acquired SuperValu Inc. in 2013 and Safeway Inc. in 2014. Read more at Bloomberg...


The future of food production will look a lot like brewing beer

Fermentation—think kombucha and kimchi—is having a moment. But fermentation is also having a moment in the world of food tech, where companies are using the process to help meet demand for natural ingredients that are challenging to obtain or in short supply. They insert genes from plants or animals into a host, such as yeast, and feed the yeast sugars to stimulate fermentation, and then the yeast is filtered off and the ingredient is purified. Perfect Day is using fermentation to make milk without cows. Impossible Foods is using it to make heme, an ingredient that makes its plant-based products taste similar to meat. Cargill is using it to produce stevia. But will consumers who gravitate toward natural products be willing to embrace these ingredients produced not by nature but through industrial methods? Read more at Fortune...


Colorado Springs startup wants to prevent surplus food from ending up at the dump

FoodMaven Corp. wants "to do to the food industry what Uber did to the taxi industry." Its plans? Continue expanding its online marketplaces where retailers and distributors within a certain area can sell surplus meat, produce, dairy and baked goods to nearby restaurants and institutional kitchens at a discount. FoodMaven uses a fleet of refrigerated trucks to pick up surplus food and parcel it out to contract drivers, who deliver it to buyers. The company, which was inspired by the development of a smartphone application that connected charities with surplus food, currently has about 40 sellers on its platform. Read more at The Gazette...


Power Plant is making plant-based eggplant jerky a reality

There's a new alternative to meat snacks, and it comes from an unexpected veggie. Power Plant eggplant jerky is currently for sale in natural food stores in Southern California, and founder Paul Sprangers is turning to the crowd to raise some money to scale up all areas of production. Read more at Clearly Veg...


How to make farmers love cover crops? Pay them

Cover crops are helpful for keeping nutrients in soil after a farmer's primary crops are harvested and preventing water pollution from farms. But less than 3 percent of corn and soybean fields in Iowa and Illinois use them, according to a new report from the Environmental Working Group. However, the number of acres with cover crops is slowly increasing in those states. Maryland has demonstrated one way to get more farmers on board: It's found success paying farmers for practices like planting cover crops that cut nitrogen and phosphorus runoff into streams. Read more at NPR...

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