5@5: Purpose vs. profit | Protecting attacked workers | Of gigs and robots

john mackey of whole foods at sxsw Getty Images
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.

John Mackey founded Whole Foods on lofty ideals. Compromise made it a massive business.

An early lesson changed John Mackey and Whole Foods Market’s trajectory. Compromise. "You have to meet the marketplace where you find it. You have to satisfy customers. You're in business to satisfy customers and if you can't do that, you're going to fail," Mackey said. "You can be idealistic and fail, or you can be more pragmatic and succeed—while continuing to fulfill your ideals as best you can." Listen to the Inc. “What I Know” podcast to get the full discussion on how Mackey balances purpose and profit.

 

Amazon looks for gig workers to pick up and deliver orders at Whole Foods

Amazon is now recruiting contract workers to both shop for and deliver groceries for Whole Foods Market. The natural products retailer’s owner is encouraging current Flex drivers to take the picking duties from Whole Foods employees, according to Bloomberg News. For a good-news-bad-news look at the announcement, check out Consumer Affairs

 

Robots emerging at H-E-B and Woolworths’

H-E-B has partnered with robotics and logistics company Swisslog to "send a number of automated micro-fulfillment centers to support the chain’s curbside pick-up and delivery business," the Houston Chronicle’s chron.com reported. Meanwhile, robots are gaining more duties at Woolworths’ in Australia where they now take on full-time cleaning duties after succeeding at trial. And you’ll want to see Model-T, which is taking on stocking in Japan. Read more at The New Daily

 

U.K. supermarket bosses call for government action as attacks against supermarket staff grow

Tesco, Aldi, Asda, Boots, Sainsbury's and Marks and Spencer are just some of the shops putting their name to a movement calling for tougher penalties if staff are assaulted. Assaults are growing, they say, as staff enforce coronavirus rules. "It is now part of the job to face this daily torrent of abuse and threats.” American retail workers, we’re certain, can affirm the rising challenges. Read more at the Mirror ...


‘It is all DTC now’: VCs are eager to strike deals again

If you follow the investment money, the future is direct to consumer. Over the past six months, many direct-to-consumer startups in categories ranging from home improvement, health and wellness and food have struck it big, reporting that their online sales have doubled or tripled while customer acquisition costs have decreased, according Digiday, which requires a subscription to read.

Here, though, we share the New Hope Network Nutrition Capital Network deals index, which we publish biweekly in the Industry Health Monitor. It tracks financial activity in the natural products industry. Investment activity continues with dips and spikes but ultimately investors are not abandoning the natural products industry. 

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