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5@5: Spice boom leaves manufacturers scrambling | Costco drops coconut milk after PETA criticism

Getty Images spice jars
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.

A spice boom has left manufacturers scrambling, and packaging materials can’t keep up

National consumption of spices, seasonings, marinades and rubs was up over 50% this past July, reflecting consumers' increased time spent cooking at home and testing new dishes during the pandemic. However, while sourcing ingredients for such products hasn't been a problem so far for producers, finding packaging materials to house them in is proving to be the real challenge. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Costco drops coconut milk amid allegations of brand’s forced monkey labor

Several Thai suppliers have been accused of using monkeys to harvest the coconuts that get turned into coconut milk, and PETA is holding retailers accountable to drop certain coconut milk brands as a result. So far Costco, Walgreens, Food Lion, Giant Food and Stop & Shop have all pledged to stop purchasing from the suppliers that PETA has listed until the forced monkey labor issue is resolved. Read more at Chicago Sun Times ...

How smog leads to tons of plastic trash

Oh, the irony. New research indicates that poor air quality prompts consumers to order food delivery and thus contribute more waste to the ongoing single-use plastic crisis, which ends up worsening environmental conditions and by extension air quality. Almost 9 million tons of plastic are estimated to end up in oceans each year. Futurity ...

Could crate-free pork become the new industry standard?

Crates are ubiquitous on pig farms, but after Dec. 31, 2021, any producers that implement them and keep the animals confined to an established degree will not be able to sell pork products in California. This is because of the state's Proposition 12, which mandates that an animal's housing on a given farm allow for "turning around freely, lying down and extending their limbs without touching the side of an enclosure." Civil Eats ...

Scientists recreated Martian soil to see if anything would grow in it

Geologists at the University of Georgia are hopeful that adding beneficial bacteria and fungi will make Martian soil suitable for plants better suited to grow on Earth. Mars is far more arid and cold than Earth is, and does not provide a great amount of UV protection via its atmostphere; however, its surface soil does contain the nutrients many Earth-plants need to thrive. Modern Farmer ...

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