female-led startup Thinkstock/Rawpizel

5@5: Unilever wants to back more women-led startups | SNAP 'harvest box' idea worries local retailers

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.

Unilever vows 50% of the startups it works with will be female-led by 2023

In a study it commissioned of 685 startups in the U.S., UK and India, Unilever found that nearly four in 10 female founders say they frequently encounter sexism while running their business, and almost half of the company founders surveyed believe there’s a gender bias problem in the startup community. Currently, less than one-quarter of the startups that Unilever invests in are female-led. Within five years, the CPG company hopes that number will be 50 percent. Now, as part of the Global Innovation Coalition for Change, Unilever, UN Women and 22 other companies are pushing for more transparency about this issue, establishing mentoring programs and creating training programs. Read more at The Drum…

 

Food boxes, not stamps? Idea in Trump budget worries grocers

The government’s proposal to replace the debit card-type SNAP program with boxes of pre-assembled, shelf-stable goods has grocers in low-income neighborhoods worried about their customers’ nutrition, as well as their own businesses. Trade groups and nonprofits have argued that taking away food stamp users’ ability to purchase their own food could undermine progress made in improvements to fresh, healthy food access in low-income neighborhoods. But the administrator for the USDA’s food and nutrition service explained in a recent interview that the box model would not entirely eliminate grocery stores from the equation—SNAP recipients would still receive 60 percent of their benefits in cash, and grocery stores may have the ability to play a role in distribution of the boxes. Read more at The Washington Post…

 

AtlantaFresh creamery to close after deal with Whole Foods ends, CEO says

The Atlanta-based grass-fed yogurt brand is shutting down after a decade in business. According to CEO Ron Marks, the company had been on Whole Foods Market shelves for eight years and received a loan from the retailer, but their agreement was cut short in the fall, shortly after the Amazon acquisition. Read more at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution…

 

At food expo, companies jockey for the next big thing

Oh hey, Expo West! The Wall Street Journal just called the show “the niche food sector’s version of the Consumer Electronics Show.” But it’s not so niche anymore—General Mills, Coca-Cola, Kroger and Target are just some of the big names going. Read more at The Wall Street Journal…

 

Walmart threatens restaurant chains with prepared meals

For the first time, Walmart is offering prepared meals in 250 stores, with plans to expand to 2,000 locations by the end of the year. Currently there are 10 meals available, but Walmart also plans to introduce $15 meal kit options. Read more at Bloomberg…

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