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[email protected]: Is lab meat 'vegan?' | Retail sales fell in July | Supply chain issues

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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.

Lab-grown meat isn't 'plant-based,' but is it 'vegan?'

Honing in on the proper language to use when referencing lab-grown animal products such as meat or dairy (or even realistic analogues) won't be easy, Fast Company explains. For instance, in the case of animal-free whey, some vegans would agree that products that incorporate it check all the boxes for ethical production. And yet, labeling them as "vegan" could lead to confusion for consumers with food allergies or sensitivity to dairy. Can a product be plant based but not vegan, or vice versa? And it doesn't help that hovering over these questionable semantics are the meat and dairy lobbies fighting to prevent terms such as “milk” and “burger” from being used to describe vegan alternatives.

US retail sales fell 1.1% in July as spending fell across categories

U.S. consumer spending at retailers fell sharply last month amid cooling purchases of goods and signs of pullback in consumer demand. The Wall Street Journal indicates that this is a result of rising COVID-19 cases tied to the Delta variant, causing shoppers to feel some of the same trepidation they did at the onset of the pandemic. However, retail sales overall continue to clock in well above monthly pre-pandemic levels: sales in July were about $91.9 billion, or 17.5%, higher than in February 2020..

Chef makes 7-hour round trip to Whole Foods for pita as a result of supply chain issues

After a supplier canceled last minute, a catering company's head chef made a 7-hour round trip to a Boston Whole Foods to buy pita bread, according to Insider. This desperation is becoming more common than you might think as suppliers nationwide scramble to navigate supply chain issues and soaring demand stemming from the ongoing pandemic. It's driving inflation as well; businesses are having to raise prices to cover the higher ingredient and labor costs as a result of unreliable suppliers, and they're stockpiling product to prevent future shortages. 

Next on your food tech radar: lab-grown chocolate

The global chocolate supply chain is fraught with labor issues and climate change-inducing activity, that much has been made clear over the decades. But that could all change over the next 15 years—this Triple Pundit article highlights a German startup called Qoa that is attempting to create the world's first lab-grown chocolate. Not much is being revealed right now about how they're creating this sustainable chocolate alternative, but one scientist working for Qoa mentioned a "precision fermentation" process that involves yeast, which would be akin to the many alternative protein startups cropping up in that sector.

Judge OKs Long Beach's mandatory pay raise for grocery workers during COVID-19

On Aug. 9 a federal judge rejected arguments from the California Grocers Association that an ordinance increasing hourly wages by $4 was pre-empted by the federal National Labor Relations Act. The judge's decision accepted arguments both from Long Beach and a food workers union that was permitted to intervene, namely United Food and Commercial Workers Local 324. The group countered that "a local wage mandate does not substantially impair an employment contract to pay something inferior." Legal Newsline has the scoop.

TAGS: General 5at5
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