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5@5: Investors push Big Food toward plant protein | Gains for grass-fed beef

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.

The steaks have never been higher

While conventional beef sales grew 6.5 percent last year, grass-fed beef sales shot up 40 percent, according to Nielsen data, even though it's often 30 percent to 80 percent more expensive. Grass-fed still makes up less than 2 percent of beef sales, but its growth has been outpacing that of conventional beef for several years. Read more at Grist...


Investors urge food companies to shift from meat to plants

Sixteen major food companies including Nestle, Unilever and Walmart, received letters last week from a group of investors managing $1.25 trillion who are urging them to diversify into more plant-based protein sources for their products. The Farm Animal Investment Risk & Return Initiative organized the group of 40 investors. "Investors want to know if major food companies have a strategy to avoid this protein bubble and to profit from a plant-based protein market set to grow by 8.4 percent annually over the next five years," says the founder of the initiative. Read more at Reuters...


PepsiCo adds probiotic jolt to Tropicana

Functional juices go mainstream as the Big Food giant gets ready to launch Tropicana Essentials Probiotics in 2017. Can probiotics revitalize a category (orange juice) that's fallen out of favor? Read more at Fortune...


FreshDirect secures new backing despite growing competition in online groceries

One of the original fresh food delivery services just raised its biggest round yet. Seventeen years after its founding, FreshDirect announced a $189 million round to help it reach new geographic areas and improve its distribution capacity. Read more at The New York Times...


Whole Foods invests in Instacart at 2014 valuation

Even before Whole Foods invested in it, the grocery delivery startup garnered some $270 million from other investors. But earlier this year, it authorized its retail partner to purchase shares worth an estimated $36 million, sources say. Read more at Bloomberg Technology...

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