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[email protected]: Whole Foods to give out free masks | Plant-based meat's COVID-19 predicament

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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.

Whole Foods will give free masks to shoppers nationwide

Amazon-owned Whole Foods plans to offer consumers free disposable face masks and is requesting that all shoppers wear masks in its stores nationwide. Amazon representatives say that masks have been provided to all Amazon employees including delivery service partners, Amazon Flex drivers and seasonal employees and Whole Foods employees have access to reusable face shields as well. Read more at Business Insider… 


COVID-19 is a moment for plant-based meats to surge or shrink

Data from The Financial Times show U.S. sales of plant-based meat skyrocketing 200% in the week ending April 18 compared to the same time period in 2019. Despite this, stock market analysts are pessimistic about brands like Beyond Meat because of the massive loss of business from restaurants and food service amid the shutdown and future financial restraints on the part of consumers. Overseas, however, shoppers are more concerned about the link between COVID-19 and meat consumption, so plant-based alternative sales are expected to continue strong growth. Read more at Quartz


Small chicken farmers are thriving during the pandemic

Large poultry operations have begun dramatically reducing their populations after foreign and food service demand was greatly reduced in March. Small chicken farmers, on the other hand, have had a far easier time pivoting to fulfill the persistant consumer demand for meat and eggs and many have already met or exceeded their sales goals for the year. Read more at The Counter


Dynamic pricing algorithms on Amazon aren't just about supply and demand

Limited inventory is not the only factor behind wildly fluctuating prices of in-demand staples on Amazon. Amazon's dynamic pricing algorithm, which is linked to the Buy Box that most online shoppers use, takes into account sellers' fulfillment speed, channel, reviews, rating and more to determine which one "wins" the box. Sellers that use dynamic pricing change their prices sometimes hundreds of times a day to compete for the Buy Box and earn revenue. Read more at The Markup


The scramble for delivery robots is on, and startups can barely keep up

While businesses have historically been cautious to incorporate robots into their delivery operations, COVID-19 changed this feeling of trepidation seemingly at the drop of a hat. But suppliers may not be up to the challenge; many are still waiting on approval from national and regional officials to outline where and how such robots can be deployed. Read more at The Wall Street Journal

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