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5@5: Waitrose trials robots to farm food | China makes first major US soybean purchase

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.

Waitrose to trial robots to farm food

Waitrose is about to become the first supermarket to sell food that was farmed using robots. The initiative is expected to increase farmers’ revenues by up to 40 percent, reduce costs by up to 60 percent and improve the quality of the soil. Three robots with three singular tasks are expected work together to develop enough data for an AI system that will eventually allow them to farm completely autonomously. Read more at Internet of Business …

 

China makes first major buy of US soybeans since Trump-Xi meet

 

On Wednesday China made its first major purchase (at least $180 million) of U.S. soybeans since President Donald Trump met with Xi Jinping earlier this month and struck a trade war truce. One U.S. trader has stated that “It looks like we’re back in business now”—a relief for many farmers of the crop who were by and large negatively affected by Trump’s tariff war. Read more at Reuters  …

 

Walmart and Amazon clash with FreshDirect in New York food fight

Online grocery shopping was already more popular in New York City than anywhere else in the country for years before major grocery chains began rolling out their own delivery services. The city has thus far favored FreshDirect, a grocery delivery service founded in 1999 that also specializes in same-day delivery of pre-made meals. However, companies such as Peapod, Walmart-owned Jet and Amazon are homing in on this lucrative market, with varied levels of success. Read more at Bloomberg 

 

Yogurt makers changing their culture to expand beyond breakfast

Leading yogurt companies are hoping to rebrand their products as snacks rather than solely breakfast fodder. The effort is in part because of the “growing grazing trend, which finds more people eating mini-meals and snacks throughout the day.” Around 60 percent of yogurt sales in 2017 were from supermarkets and grocery stores, with many yogurt companies now looking toward food service, convenience stores and airports to expand their reach.  Read more at The Chicago Sun-Times ...

 

Plastic water bottles, which enabled a drinks boom, now threaten a crisis

CPG beverage companies are searching for answers to the plastic crisis—PepsiCo Inc., for instance, bought SodaStream in August, and Poland Spring is rolling out glass and aluminum packaging for some of its products. However, these changes have yet to make a dent on overall global plastic waste. Many emerging companies are now focused on turning the waste generated by plastic bottles into “clean, high quality material” that can be repurposed in a variety of ways, among other innovative solutions. Read more at The Wall Street Journal …

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