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[email protected]: Shopper confusion over 'healthy' products | AI to hit Midwest job market hardest

5@5: Shopper confusion over 'healthy' products | AI to hit Midwest job market hardest
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.

What’s healthy at the grocery store? Shoppers are often confused, survey finds

As one senior policy analyst puts it, “How are [consumers] supposed to know that ‘organic’ is backed by almost 100 pages of federal reguations and ‘natural’ doesn’t have any?” Health-oriented consumers are drowning in a sea of information from fitness professionals, nutrition bloggers, scientific studies and social media alike—and it’s causing notable shifts in behavior. For starters, consumers are relying more on labeling to decide whether a given product is healthy, a new survey has found. In a bid for simplification, the FDA may formulate an icon to be broadly placed on “healthy” food, but creating a healthy vs. unhealthy binary of this sort would come with its own set of challenges and opponents. Read more at NPR …


‘AI’ to hit hardest in US heartland and among less-skilled: Study


Advances in artificial technology are already reshaping the workplace, but one area of the country in particular will be hard hit by the upcoming increased shift toward automated labor. Namely, manufacturing-heavy, largely Republican states in the Midwest, such as Wisconsin, Ohio and Iowa. On the other end of the spectrum, Democratic coastal states such as New York and Maryland only have around a fifth of jobs in the high-risk category, suggesting that “the economic tensions that framed Trump’s election may well persist, and even be immune to his efforts to shift global trade policy in favor of U.S. manufacturers. Read more at Reuters 


Brands invent new lines for only Amazon to sell

Amazon is now pushing brands to create products lines that will be sold exclusively on the company’s site, most likely after finding that developing them on its own was too expensive and time consuming. In exchange, Amazon will provide extra help launching these brands’ products on, boost their SEO ranking, employ faster customer feedback when trialing new products, and give marketing support in addition to revenue from sales. Read more at The Wall Street Journal …


WeWork gives $32M to vegan superfood startup

WeWork, the co-working startup that made headlines last year for its meat-free workplace initiatives, has invested $32 million in private funding round to Laird Superfood. Laird Superfood grew sales more than 260 percent from 2017 to 2018, with its cheaper, freeze dried alternatives to healthy products such as coconut water proving to be a hit with consumers. Read more at One Green Planet …


Florida’s citrus trees face extinction. Are antibiotics the only answer?

A nailhead-sized pest of foreign origin is wreaking havoc on Florida’s prized citrus trees, but liberal use of antibiotics to eradicate them hasn’t historically been successful. And yet, this fact did not stop the EPA from spraying 388,000 pounds of oxytetracycline onto affected crops in December, which begs the question: Is staving off the collapse of the multi-billion-dollar orange industry worth risking bacterial resistance to a medically important antibiotic for human use?. Read more at Civil Eats  

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