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5@5: Restocking robots hit retail | The ugly side of 'ugly' produce

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.

New job for robots—taking stock for retailers

Growing services such as rapid home delivery and in-store pickup for online purchases are “pushing retailers to blur the lines between distribution centers and stores,” and some stores are testing out a previously warehouse-exclusive method for fulfilling orders—robots. The use of robots would resolve retailers' need for constant inventory counts by store staff, and the data gathered by these units would additionally help managers make future restocking decisions to optimize profitability. According to Frederick McCoy, senior vice president at Jabil Retail, ten big-box retailers are planning to test out in-store robots in 2019. Read more at The Wall Street Journal …

 

The murky ethics of the ugly-produce business

 

The ugly-produce movement, while lauded by the general public, has received some harsh criticism these last few weeks. One scientist has made the argument that so-called “ugly” produce was never wasted in the first place—while it may not be Whole Foods fodder, these damaged goods are usually turned into perfectly usable products such as baby carrots or salsa. Another took aim at the ugly produce movement’s tendency to partner with giant food companies and wind up as “an ally of exactly the food system that creates waste and hunger in the first place. Read more at The Atlantic 

 

Michelob Ultra’s organic beer tries to lure millennials with Super Bowl ad

Michelob Ultra has released an ASMR-inspired commercial starring Zoey Kravitz to better stand out among its louder-is-better competitors during the Super Bowl. Parent company AB InBev is running more ads in this year’s Super Bowl than it has in its entire history, all with the aim of turning around declining beer sales among millennial consumers. Michelob Ultra’s organic beer “is made with organic grains and contains only 85 calories per 12 ounces,” and aims to target consumers who may turn to wine and spirits in lieu of beer in an effort to be healthier. Read more at CNBC …

 

People strongly against GMOs had shakier understanding of food science, study finds

A survey of 2,000 people in Europe and the U.S. found that participants who reported themselves as being most strongly against GMOs had the lowest test scores after answering a series of true or false science-related questions. As the article notes, “Opponents of genetically modified food are not putting much stock in the study,” but this doesn’t change anything for the researchers, as the survey’s true intent was to examine the correlation of scientific knowledge and consumer behavior. The reactions to the study also reinforced the findings of a previous experiment, which found that consumers are more resistant to learning facts that contradict their closely held moral beliefs. Read more at NPR …

 

Australia might have the answer to herbicide-resistant ‘superweeds’

There are now 255 weeds across the globe that are resistant to 163 different herbicides, but those that have proven most difficult to tame are the 43 glyphosate-resistant weeds that increasingly “compete with crops for space, water and nutrients in the soil.” Instead of replacing one herbicide with another, farmers are now turning toward alternative methods championed in resistant-weed-ridden farmland in Australia, such as cover crop use, weed seed destroying machines as well as experimenting with new, hardier crop breeds. Read more at Civli Eats  

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