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5@5: Problematic whiteness within fermented foods industry | Vertical farming key to sustainable fruit and vegetable production

Getty Images fermented foods
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.

How white purveyors came to dominate the fermented foods industry

The fermented foods industry, which is projected to be worth $690 billion by 2023, is rife with products rooted in global, often East Asian, traditions. However, the most prominent players in the space are white; only one-third of Kombucha Brewers International trade association members, for instance, identify as something other than white. Success in the space has been determined by white gatekeepers for years, and as such BIPOC fermenters continue to get lost in the brine, if you will. This Eater article explains how the "white gaze" has led white people to acclimate to unfamiliar foods only when they are promoted by white entrepreneurs, and why white entrepreneurs seem to get a pass when it comes to dabbling in fermentation across cultures.

Vertical farming will be key for supporting sustainable produce

Fruit and vegetable producers are already experiencing soil depletion and water supply issues, and now scientists are projecting extreme weather events that will plague the Earth over the coming decades if climate change isn't properly reckoned with. Growers are already introducing sustainable initiatives like water management and carbon capture to their operations, but there will likely be a need to develop supplemental programs to ensure that global demand is met. Enter vertical farming: the practice of growing crops in vertically stacked layers–typically integrated into other structures like skyscrapers, shipping containers or repurposed warehouses–to optimize plant growth and soilless farming techniques. The Food Institute digs into the merits of this sustainable solution.

Ocean Hugger will re-enter the plant-based seafood space via a partnership with Nove Foods

Plant-based seafood maker Ocean Hugger is relaunching via a partnership with Thailand-based Nove Foods after the pandemic forced the brand, which previously sold products primarily to foodservice businesses, to cease operations. Its new plan is to launch “an expanded portfolio” of plant-based seafood products via a joint venture with Nove Foods, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of sustainable food manufacturer NRF.The Spoon reports.

Information on factory farms is spotty at best. The government has been blocked from doing more

There is no comprehensive list of all the concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, in the Midwest because a spate of lawsuits have prevented the federal government from making one. But the Environmental Protection Agency wasn’t adequately studying the environmental impact of their waste even before lawsuits blocked it from gathering information on CAFOs, according to the Government Accountability Office. Now, scientists and academics who study agriculture and the environment are finding other ways to gather information about CAFOs without a central database through AI tools and crowdsourcing. Head to The Counter to learn more.

Target boosts growth during COVID-19 pandemic at rivals' expense

Over the past fiscal year around 95% of Target's sales came from store fulfillment, which includes products bought in stores as well as online orders fulfilled from stores. That model has helped Target grab market share from competitors over the past year, but some industry executives say shoppers will return to more normalized buying patterns later this year as more consumers are vaccinated and return to spending on dining out or travel. The Wall Street Journal has the scoop.

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