A natural food supplement may relieve anxiety
Researchers have discovered that a plant-derived substance called beta-sitosterol, which has been marketed for years as a nutraceutical, reduces anxiety in mice. They're hopeful the supplement might have a similar effect on humans. One notable advantage of the ingredient is that it is naturally present in a variety of edible plants—including avocados, pistachios, almonds and other nuts—and it is thought to be generally safe for consumption already. Science Blog reports.
Indoor farming company Bowery raises $300M
Bowery Farming, a New York City-based vertical farming startup, annouced a $300 million Series C this week; the round brings its total funding to more than $472 million and values the company at $2.3 billion. The company experienced a 750% increase in availability since January of last year. Head to Tech Crunch for more.
Warehouses look to robots to fill labor gaps, speed deliveries
Labor-strapped North American warehouses are turning to robots to help deliver online orders faster; businesses have said that they can't keep up with the surging digital demand across sectors in terms of hiring warehouse workers which has accelerated the adoption of technology in an industry that still mainly relies on human labor. This is one example of how companies are seeking out ways to cope with large swings in volume when workers are scarce and social distancing requirements limit building occupancy. Get the full story at The Wall Street Journal.
Wakefern taps dunnhumby to sharpen merchandising
ShopRite parent Wakefern Food Corp. has enlisted customer data science specialist dunnhumby to provide its mainline category management and merchandising platform. According to the company's statement on the subject, Dunnhumby's technology will help Wakefern Food Corp. put “the customer directly at the heart of the decision-making process.” Wakefern’s network of independently owned and operated grocery stores includes nearly 280 ShopRite supermarkets plus stores under the Price Rite Marketplace, The Fresh Grocer, Dearborn Market, Gourmet Garage and Fairway Market banners. Supermarket News has the scoop.
'Sustainable agriculture' takes on a new meaning for farmers hoping to survive the pandemic
Small farmers who lost key customers during the COVID-19 pandemic morphed their businesses in many ways to survive, but one especially effective pivot has been the contactless CSA box. It's an older idea that has been revamped with technology over the past year to serve customers in the absence of farmer's markets and restaurants. The Counter interviews farmers who created and participated in one such program and finds they are largely optimistic about its long-term stickiness with shoppers, albeit not to the extent they needed it in 2020.