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IdeaXchange

Amazon’s sustainable packaging program isn't catching on, but why not?

Consumers love shopping online—global e-commerce grew 18% last year alone. But on the whole, the joy of seeing another package waiting on your doorstep tends to outweigh the inconvenient truth of thousands of tons of packaging waste that e-commerce produces.

According to Fast Company, 165 billion packages are shipped in the U.S. every year, with cardboard use equating to more than 1 billion trees! The truth is, as online shopping grows, so will our environmental impact—unless we significantly change the way we are shipping goods.

It’s impossible to discuss e-commerce or packaging impact without bringing up the online retail giant Amazon and its programs for sustainability. In 2008, Amazon launched Frustration-Free Packaging (FFP), a program that is designed to reduce waste by providing consumers with easy-to-open packaging that is also 100% recyclable and shippable to the end consumer without the need for an additional box (i.e., no “box within another box” shipments). Since then, they have expanded the initiative beyond vendors to sellers, and increased the number of applications into the program that they can process. They’ve also taken other measures toward sustainability such as using flexible, recyclable mailers for small items and optimizing box selections to better fit different products and weights to avoid waste.

If you sell on Amazon through Vendor Central or Seller Central, Frustration-Free Packaging can provide you the following benefits:

  • FFP provides the right-sized box. This reduces the material and time needed for packing your items.
  • FFP reduces damage. Amazon ensures your products are well-protected in transit.
  • FFP can save material and shipping costs. With a reduced package size, you are decreasing the material needed to pack it which reduces your shipping costs. FFP can also save packing material if you are shipping at scale.
  • FFP provides easy-to-open packages. This means there is no hard wire or plastic which are difficult to open and may create a poor customer experience.
  • FFP is only available for authorized sellers. Once your ASIN is approved for FFP, resellers cannot sell against that Child ASIN. This gives you a significant advantage to win the Buy Box.
  • FFP uses either recycled or recyclable packaging. This is good for the planet and may serve as a differentiator for your brand. 

Even with these incredible benefits, there continues to be only a small subset of sellers who have adopted FFP. What might be causing companies to opt out of this sustainable option? Here are a few potential reasons with counter arguments for each.

  • Brand quality: Packaging can be a unique brand differentiator. Some brands may fear that by using FFP, they may create the appearance of poor brand quality. 

In fact, sellers have the ability to design their FFP packaging the way they’d like to (within guidelines).

  • Product protection: Some brands may have a product that is fragile or tends to get destroyed during shipping. Brands may fear that FFP simplifies packaging a bit too much and it will not protect your product en route.

In fact, brands can still enroll in FFP and have their packaging designed to protect their product (including bubble wrap)—and sometimes it can even be cheaper.

  • Certification: Amazon Sellers have to initiate FFP and go through the certification process with Amazon. For some brands, it can be time-consuming to design new packaging and hit drop tests.

In fact, the certification process can be worth the effort in the long run.

Although Amazon has rolled out FFP in response to its packaging waste footprint, many experts and consumers believe it has not done enough. It’s clear that the adoption of FFP is not high. More needs to be done to the FFP program, or to make it easier for sellers and vendors to take part. 

Product packaging is an important part of the customer experience and can be a significant cost for brands. Frustration-Free Packaging offers a more sustainable alternative for Amazon sellers, and may or may not be the right solution for your brand.

Kevin Weiss is the vice president of growth and strategy at Amplio Digital, an award-winning Amazon marketing agency based out of Boulder, Colorado, that is committed to helping good companies grow to improve our communities.

[email protected]: Missouri court upholds meat advertising law | Study: Mediterranean diet reduces depression symptoms

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Court rejects Tofurky’s request for preliminary injunction to halt enforcement of Missouri’s meat advertising law

Tofurky and The Good Food Institute’s attempt to sue Missouri prosecutors over the state’s 2018 amended meat advertising law has been rejected. The state will begin barring plant-based and cell-cultured meat substitutes from using words connoting meat on their labels. Read more at Lexology

Changing your diet can help tamp down depression, boost mood

A new randomized controlled trial found that a Mediterranean diet diminished symptoms of depression in a group of young adults after just three weeks. Scientists have increasingly been linking poor diets to inflammation in the brain and body, which for some people is a risk factor for depression. Read more at NPR

Can a new reusable container program—dishwashing included—help solve America’s takeout problem?

A pilot program called Canteen allows consumers to return and exchange their takeout dishware to restaurants for a fee of $3 per month. It is currently being trialed at Dig in New York City, making the fast-casual restaurant the first citywide to offer a “closed-loop” program for takeout containers. While participation in the program is an excellent first step in terms of stemming our out-of-control plastic use, whether or not the program will be able to scale successfully remains to be seen. Read more at New Food Economy

Plastic waste is everywhere in grocery stores. Can they cut down?

Less than 14% of the 86 million tons of plastic packaging produced globally every year is actually recycled, and supermarkets are a huge source of unnecessary plastic waste (why do single bananas need to be wrapped in plastic?!). As a result, some retailers are pivoting to incorporate technology that enables them to go packaging-free—but the U.S. is largely lagging behind global efforts. Read more at Vox

The Trump administration is sidelining science—and it puts us in danger

The Trump administration recently allowed farmers to continue treating crops with the harmful insecticide chlorpyrifos, and that’s just one of several of its decisions that will negatively impact the health and wellbeing of U.S. citizens of all ages nationwide. The U.S. regulatory system is on the fast track to becoming “too politicized, too beholden to corporate money and power” to deal with the many health crises occurring nationwide and on a global scale. Read more at The Guardian

These women-owned brands are tackling food waste and food allergies, together

Renewal Mill Square Baby Collaboration

“As women, we have the unique opportunity to support fellow female entrepreneurs so that we can all rise together,” says Caroline Cotto of Renewal Mill.

She, along with Renewal Mill CEO Claire Schlemme are leading by example alongside the women of baby food brand Square Baby, Katie Thomson and Kendall Glynn, through a special collaboration.

Renewal Mill is a food waste reprocessing venture that upcycles fibrous byproducts from food manufacturing into high value end-use goods while Square Baby makes high-quality, nutritious baby food and focuses on early food allergen introductions.

So what could a collaboration look like? It's a unique baby food blend that addresses two issues important to both parties: food allergies and food waste. The blend is Square Baby Peanut Pumpkin Pie puree with Renewal Mill’s nutritious okara (soy) flour.

We caught up with the two former Natural Products Expo Pitch Slam finalists to break down what this partnership looks like and how missions are being woven into this collaboration.

What does this partnership look like?

Renewal Mill: Okara is being used in Square Baby's new flavor Peanut Pumpkin Pie which is a seasonal fall meal that's intended for early allergen introduction of peanut and soy and is supporting a more sustainable food future for all of us. We are marketing it as "Next generation ingredients for the next generation," and explaining the duality of our missions as follows: "Food waste is a growing problem; food allergies are a growing problem; fight both with a single spoonful!"

Square Baby: We’ll [also] be providing Renewal Mill chocolate chip cookies to our parents in all of our Square Baby orders.

Okara is a fairly unique and new ingredient in the U.S. market. Why choose this over say, more common flours?

RM: It’s actually a traditional East Asian ingredient that's been used for centuries. We really believe that soy is an original superfood, and we are reclaiming the health benefits of soy for all ages, starting with children. Okara has five times the fiber of soy flour and a much more neutral taste. It also has 40% of the carbon footprint of other flours like wheat and soy, so it's a better for you, better for the planet option.

SB: We had been looking for the right soy ingredient to introduce to our meal lineup. When we met Renewal Mill, we knew we’d found it ... organic, highly nutritious, upcycled, local, women-owned. And after meeting Claire and Caroline, we were even more determined to make this partnership soar.

Thoughtfully choosing and sourcing high-quality ingredients is important for you both. How do you see these values filling a gap in the baby food space?

RM: We are focused on improving the food system at every level, and that means producing products that are better for the environment and better for our bodies. Our okara is organic and non-GMO, minimally processed and has no preservatives. Nutrition is such an important part of setting children up for success, and feeding our children nutrient-dense ingredients made with intentionality is vital to their development.

SB: Nutritional quality, ethical sourcing and sustainability are more important than ever, especially for our littlest bodies and brains. Thankfully, we are seeing a lot more organic and even fresh options in baby food in the last few years. But, we’re still seeing a lot of fruit-heavy purees that lack a variety of proteins, veggies, healthy fats and allergens. Square Baby is committed to sourcing the highest-quality ingredients and combining them in a way that offers 100% daily nutrition through truly balanced, “square” meals.

What about using upcycled ingredients? Why focus on and incorporate food waste?

RM: Food waste is a massive issue. It's the third leading cause of climate change, and globally, 30% of the food we produce is never eaten. As the climate crisis continues to escalate, our focus on waste reduction becomes more imperative.

Using upcycled ingredients in baby food further hits home the point that we need to take every step we can to reduce our environmental impact now so that the generation growing up today can actually have a safe, healthy planet to live on. Investing in upcycled ingredients is an investment in our children's future.

SB: We are proud to partner with a company whose mission goes beyond quality, beyond nutrition, beyond branding. Their commitment to upcycling is exactly what our next generation needs to preserve and protect the earth they’ll acquire.

What advice do you have for emerging brands seeking an impactful, complimentary partnership like yours?

RM: Being a female entrepreneur is hard enough. Only 3% of venture capital funding went to women last year, and if you look at the percentage of funding that went to pregnant women or moms, it's virtually non-existent. However, where there is challenge, there is also opportunity.

My advice would for emerging brands exploring partnerships is: be open to all possibilities. Even if it seems like there might not be an immediate opportunity for partnership, don't be afraid to dive in and explore. You'll be surprised with the amazing things you come up with! I'd also say, don't be afraid to make the first move. If Katie and Kendall had not gone out of their way to come up and introduce themselves to us during Food Funded, this entire partnership would have never come to fruition.

SB: Joining together and supporting like-minded brands is a no-brainer. And supporting female founders is even more important, because we all rise together. Because there is always someone in the room you can help and someone you can learn from. It’s our job as entrepreneurs to reach out, follow our gut, push through our comfort zone to connect, learn and grow. You never know what beautiful connection awaits you.

Here's the latest on sustainable packaging

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Unilever announces 2 ambitious new commitments for a waste-free world

Unilever has confirmed that by 2025 it will halve its use of virgin plastic. The company plans to do this by reducing its absolute use of plastic packaging by more than 100,000 tons and accelerating its use of recycled plastic, in addition to helping collect and process more plastic packaging than it sells. This commitment makes Unilever the first major global consumer goods company to commit to an absolute plastics reduction across its portfolio. Read more at NewHope.com...

Rethinking packaging: Software can help manage the transition to more sustainability

Consumer awareness about the environmental hazards of plastic, especially in food and beverage packaging, has reached a tipping point. For manufacturers in the food and beverage industry this means pressure to rethink packaging strategies, revising go-to-market plans and forging new supply chain partners. Fortunately, modern software solutions can help manage these multiple factors, starting with research and development and ending with consumer feedback. Read more at FoodDive

Tetra Pak Index 2019 - The convergence of health and environment

Historically seen as two separate areas, health and environment are converging within food and beverage, which is perhaps the first industry to see this trend. Food and beverage is a key catalyst for change, especially in terms of natural and organic products. Barriers to change still remain, but they are diminishing and evolving. And packaging and recycling are more vital to consumers than ever, particularly as plastic litter continues to receive so much negative attention. Read the full report at Tetra Pak...

Packaging dream: Shifting from waste to resource – podcast

Increasing the amount of recyclable packaging is currently the best solution to the natural product industry’s contribution to landfills, according to Jeremiah C. McElwee, senior vice president of merchandising and product development at Thrive Market. In this podcast McElwee discusses his passion for finding a packaging solution. Listen to the podcast at Natural Products INSIDER...

StePac launches sustainable packaging strategy

Fresh produce packaging experts at StePac L.A., Ltd., present the company's four-pillared sustainability strategy for fresh produce packaging. The advanced strategy effectively mitigates the necessity of climate-positive plastic packaging through addressing the critical problem of food waste. StePac will present its progressive plan of action at a sustainability event it is hosting at the PMA Fresh Summit in Anaheim on Saturday, October 19, 2019. Read more at PR Newswire...

Nestlé and Veolia join forces to combat plastic waste

Nestlé and Veolia, the world's leading resource management company, have announced their collaboration to work on waste collection. They're starting with the sorting and recycling of plastic material, with a particular emphasis on flexible plastic packaging. Projects will focus on eleven priority countries across Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe. Read more at Vitafoods Insights...

IdeaXchange

5 tips for educating consumers on the benefits of a prebiotic

Kara Landau, the “Travelling Dietitian,” is an Australian accredited practicing dietitian, author and founder of Uplift Food—Good Mood Food

But how does a brand bring the rapidly growing science of prebiotics—and the potential benefits of this nutrient less commonly understood by consumers—into the same limelight as probiotics? And how can these efforts help products stand out for all the benefits they can impart, while being well received by consumers?

Keep in mind these five keys to introduce a prebiotic-rich product to consumers and retailers:

1. Speak simply.

Just as the science of probiotics has been translated into consumer-friendly terminology and graphics over the years, so too must leaders in the prebiotic category learn to simplify the science and the message they want to impart.

With multiple mechanisms of action and numerous benefits that prebiotics or the by-products of prebiotic fermentation produce, it is important a brand doesn’t get caught in the weeds. Rather, brands must find ways to speak in a language that consumers can relate to and make sense of, and ultimately avoid anything that might cause confusion, lest people become alienated from the category.

2. Help consumers join the dots.

Probiotics set the platform for prebiotics and other gut health nutrients to have a story that they can tie themselves to. Irrespective of whether prebiotics have a benefit in isolation, tapping into a story that consumers already understand—such as probiotics and their role in gut health, or some of the prebiotics that are fibers and their role in digestion—can help them make sense of a new nutrient or ingredient that they otherwise might not recognize as offering benefits on its own.

3. Choose a benefit.

With prebiotics presenting such a vast array of potential benefits, it can be advantageous for a brand to hone in on a specific benefit to shape the message and assist consumers in identifying the product’s benefit.

Simply stating that the product contains a nutrient—particularly when it is a nutrient that is not well known—does not typically lead to an increased uptake of users.

On the other hand, highlighting a key benefit that prebiotics offer—especially one that relates to the benefits of the brand’s ingredients—consumers can better see what they will get out of consuming the product, ultimately making it a more attractive and understandable purchase option.

4. Partner with educational resources.

Raising awareness of a nutrient newer to many people’s lives is a big task; instead of going at it alone, look for partners to help spread the message.

Health professionals such as dietitians or gastroenterologists who are already in the space, online influencers who have taken a position around the importance of gut health, or even other brands that also promote gut health or prebiotics can all be big allies when it comes to educating consumers.

Look for partners with specific audiences and who know how to speak in a way that is well received. They can help translate the science into a level of education those around them understand, and ultimately help spread a positive message attached to the benefits of a brand’s prebiotic products.

5. Work collaboratively with retailers.

Many retailers are excited by the idea of innovation in the health and wellness space, and in particular, within gut health products.

Even though a brand is creating something new, retailers may still have ways to work with the brand or help it educate consumers.

Many major national retailers are creating specific areas for gut health products, where they can test newer emerging brands in the category.

Associating a prebiotic brand with other probiotic products already merchandised in these unique categories will help consumers associate with the benefits of prebiotic products, thus increasing their education.

Even though prebiotics are at an earlier stage in their lifespan when it comes to consumer understanding, calculated ways exist to bridge the gap between the current knowledge base and the level needed for consumers to understand—and reap the benefits—from the products a brand offers.

Keeping these five pieces of advice in mind is an excellent start.

Kara Landau, the “Travelling Dietitian,” is an Australian accredited practicing dietitian, author and founder of Uplift Food—Good Mood Food, a functional food brand focused exclusively on the mood-supportive benefits of gut-healthy prebiotic fibers and resistant starches.

Editor's note: Landau presented at Supply Side West in 2019.

 

 

Eating home-cooked meals might mean fewer harmful PFAS in your body

Thinkstock Preparing meals at home can reduce your exposure to harmful PFAS chemicals

A home-cooked meal has many benefits, including healthier ingredients and fewer processed foods. But there’s another reason to avoid eating out all the time: Preparing meals at home can reduce your exposure to harmful PFAS chemicals that are commonly found in take-out and fast food packaging, according to a new study by researchers at Silent Spring Institute.

Researchers analyzed data from 10,106 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that tracks health and nutritional trends in the United States. The study, Dietary Habits Related to Food Packaging and Population Exposure to PFASs, was published Oct. 9 in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

The participants answered detailed questions about their diets, recalling what they ate over four different time scales: the previous 24 hours, 7 days, 30 days and 12 months. The participants also provided blood samples that were analyzed for a number of different PFAS chemicals.

The researchers found that people who ate more meals at home had significantly lower levels of PFAS in their bodies. The vast majority (90%) of these meals consisted of food purchased at a grocery store. In contrast, people who consumed more fast food or ate more frequently at restaurants, including pizza places, tended to have higher levels of PFAS. This suggests that fast food and food from other restaurants is more likely to be contaminated with PFAS, which may be due to greater contact with PFAS-containing food packaging.

“This is the first study to observe a link between different sources of food and PFAS exposures in the U.S. population,” said co-author Laurel Schaider, Ph.D., an environmental chemist at Silent Spring. “Our results suggest migration of PFAS chemicals from food packaging into food can be an important source of exposure to these chemicals.”

Although the study did not directly analyze food packaging or the food itself for PFAS, the findings are consistent with previous research, including an earlier study by Silent Spring that found PFAS chemicals are common in fast food packaging.

PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are a class of chemicals widely used in an array of nonstick, stain-resistant and waterproof products such as carpeting, cookware, outdoor apparel and food people who consumed more fast food or ate more frequently at restaurants tended to have higher levels of PFAS. packaging. Food crops and livestock can also contain PFAS through exposure to contaminated soil and water. PFAS have been linked with numerous health effects including cancer, thyroid disease, immune suppression, low birth weight and decreased fertility. Because the chemicals are ubiquitous and exposures are widespread in the population, scientists are concerned about the health risks.

Consistent with previous studies, researchers also found that people who consumed more microwave popcorn had significantly higher levels of PFAS, most likely the result of the chemicals leaching out of the popcorn bags. Four PFAS chemicals detected in the participants’ blood samples and associated with eating more popcorn have previously been detected in microwave popcorn bags, the researchers noted.

A limitation of the study is that the data were collected between 2003 and 2014 and only included results for long-chain PFAS because they were most frequently detected. In recent years, due to health concerns, U.S. manufacturers have been replacing long-chain PFAS with newer varieties that are also extremely persistent and new research suggests they raise similar health concerns. For this reason, many experts are calling for restrictions on the entire class of chemicals.

In addition to PFAS, food packaging can contain other chemicals of concern, including hormone-disrupting compounds such as BPA and phthalates, says co-author Kathryn Rodgers, a staff scientist at Silent Spring. “The general conclusion here is the less contact your food has with food packaging, the lower your exposures to PFAS and other harmful chemicals,” Rodgers said. “These latest findings will hopefully help consumers avoid these exposures and spur manufacturers to develop safer food packaging materials.”

 

Source: Silent Spring Institute

Esca Bona

The natural products white space – Fodder podcast

Iteration sometimes gets more attention than natural products innovation as trends such as hemp CBD, mushrooms and cold-brew coffee flow like a bottomless cup of joe.

So what innovation does the industry need? We chatted with three industry experts who were in attendance at Natural Products Expo East to suss out the current white-space opportunities in natural.

Experts include:

  • Daniel Karsevar, CEO of PlantBased Solutions.
  • Jim Slama, founder and CEO of Family Farmed.
  • Michael Kanter, co-owner of Cambridge Naturals.

Listen to the Fodder podcast

Find us on the interwebs

This is the Fodder podcast powered by New Hope Network's Esca Bona platform. You can find us here on newhope.com, Soundcloud, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Play and other places you find your podcasts.

Have an "innovation for good food" idea we should consider for the Fodder podcast? Want to offer feedback on our latest episode? Email us at [email protected]

And join us in person

Find us at the Food | Ag | Ideas Week Oct. 10-15 in Minneapolis/St. Paul, the Regenerative Earth Summit: Soil + Water + Climate Oct. 28-30 in Denver and the Good Food Innovation and Finance Conference Nov. 5-6 in Chicago.

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Fodder podcast underwriters logos 301Inc, Giannuzzi Group, Healthy Lifestyle Brands, Whipstitch Capital

Sprouts Foundation donates $3 million to food and nutrition nonprofits

Sprouts Healthy Community Foundation Sprouts Healthy Community Foundation donates $3 million to food and nutrition nonprofits

The Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation has donated $3 million to nonprofit organizations that specialize in nutrition education and fresh food accessibility, it announced this week.

Funds include Neighborhood Grants that support grassroots children’s nutrition education programs, as well as large, multi-year Impact Grants designed to help partners increase organizational capacity and scale programs.

“Each year, our network of nonprofit partners continues to grow and our work in local communities continues to deepen,” said Lyndsey Waugh, executive director of the Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation. “As a result, children and their families have greater exposure to nutrition education and hands-on cooking and gardening programs in their schools and community centers, and urban farms are increasing access to fresh, nutritious produce in food desert communities.”

This year, Sprouts will award 118 Neighborhood Grants ranging from $2,500 to $10,000 to nonprofit organizations across the U.S. Recipients of these grants, which total $725,000, are located in 22 states and include programs in Sprouts’ new markets in Louisiana, New Jersey, and Virginia.

To culminate the nonprofit support, Sprouts and the Foundation will host the second annual Day of Service on Nov. 9, when hundreds of team members will participate in 40 volunteer events from coast to coast.

“Central to Sprouts’ identity is giving back to the communities we operate in, and the Day of Service gives team members the opportunity to engage with the organizations the Foundation supports firsthand,” Waugh said.

Day of Service volunteer events with 2019 grant recipients include:

  • Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful, Tampa, Florida—Sprouts volunteers will visit the Florida Learning Garden to assist with planting starter plants in garden beds and hydroponic gardens. Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful encourages environmental stewardship through numerous cleanup and tree-planting projects, and the Florida Learning Garden, where students participate in hands-on greenhouse, composting, gardening and upcycling activities.
  • Spaces of Opportunity, Phoenix, Arizona—Dozens of volunteers from Sprouts’ stores and leaders from Sprouts’ store support office will unite to plant, harvest and help with garden maintenance. Spaces of Opportunity, located in the heart of south Phoenix, is working to transform a food desert into a thriving hub of health and fresh food access through the coordination of a 10-acre incubator farm, family gardens and an on-site farmers market.
  • Soil Born Farms Urban Agriculture and Education Project, Sacramento, California—Sprouts team members will work at an elementary school to install raised garden beds, plant and beautify the school garden. Soil Born Farms Urban Agriculture and Education Project empowers youth and adults to discover and participate in a local food system that encourages healthy living, nurtures the environment and grows a sustainable community.

The Foundation has also committed to multi-year, high-impact grants to help organizations scale established programs and develop and share best practices nutritional curricula and community gardening:

  • Life Lab, Santa Cruz, California—Life Lab is a national leader in the garden-based learning movement that empowers tens of thousands of educators across the country with resources necessary to engage young people in gardens and on farms. The Foundation’s $561,000 multi-year investment will allow Life Lab to strengthen and expand its service model, touching hundreds of organizations nationwide. In addition, The Foundation and Life Lab will create and present a national conference in 2021, bringing together school garden educators and community leaders for seminars, networking opportunities, workshops and more.
  • Sage Garden Project (San Diego, California—Sage Garden Project is one of the few programs to offer nutritional science at the elementary school level. By providing equipment, training, funds for an educator and a standards-based curriculum, it teaches students to grow and cook fresh food. The $375,000 in multi-year funding has already allowed The Foundation and Sage Garden Project to sustain successful school programs, as well as expand into 25 new campuses for the 2019-20 school year.
  • Out Teach, Phoenix, Arizona, and Fort Worth, Texas—Out Teach empowers teachers to go beyond the classroom to create unforgettable learning experiences and measurable academic results. In addition to funding teacher training and the direct implementation of nutrition curricula in Texas, the $150,000 grant also supports the creation of a new learning garden in Sunnyslope, Arizona. Out Teach will bring its expertise to Arizona for the first time, partnering with Sprouts to build a new learning garden at Desert View Elementary School. Out Teach recently completed a three-year, multi-year gift and is a returning partner.

Additional Foundation support is allocated across markets to health and wellness related causes, as well as Vitamin Angels, which delivers life-saving vitamins and nutrients to at-risk populations around the world.

Created in 2015, the Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation focuses on empowering individuals, especially children, to live healthier lives by supporting programs that teach nutrition education and increase access to fresh, nutritious food.

Source: Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation

[email protected]: Lab-grown meat–in space | Wellness brands train influencers

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This company just grew meat in space for the first time

While lab-grown meat has been a slow-moving category, an Israeli food company recently announced it had successfully grown meat from cow cells on the International Space Station. Aleph Farms used Russian bioprinting technology to produce the steak, and it hopes the technology can be used to feed astronauts during long-term space missions in addition to addressing food insecurity. Read more at CNN

Many wellness brands are failing to train the influencers they hire

Companies in search of influencers tend to focus on whether their online personas are “on-brand” as opposed to genuinely being knowledgeable about the product—and this hasn’t been working out too well. As a result, wellness brands such as Care/of are now taking initiative to educate influencers and asking questions to ensure they’re on board with brands’ philosophies and goals. Read more at Bon Appetit

McDonald’s and Mondelez say taste, not health, will drive food sales

Yes, consumers are searching for healthy and eco-friendly alternatives to their favorite food products than ever before—but taste is still the most important factor driving sales. Some of the biggest food companies in the world are struggling to compete with startups that deliver on both tastiness and health, and as a result they’re questioning whether product reformulations or new launches are worth the effort. Read more at The Wall Street Journal

Red meat study caused a stir—here’s what wasn’t discussed

A widely reported study that claimed there is no need to reduce one’s intake of red meat generated much discussion—but critics and supporters of the study alike largely missed one crucial aspect. Specifically, the study didn’t differentiate those high-risk individuals within a low-risk population, which produces skewed results. For example, overweight people and those with (often unknown) pre-cancers are more susceptible to the health risks linked to red meat and other notoriously unhealthy food products. Read more at The Conversation

Can grocery stores survive the age of Big Tech?

Because of the grocery sector’s low profit margin, there is less room for retailers to experiment with new technology that could boost their virtual presence and consumer offerings (e.g. grocery pick-up, blockchain tracking). But times are changing, and now traditional grocery stores must alter the role they play and the experience they deliver to consumers in order to coexist with online-only marketplaces. Read more at Food 52