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Articles from 2019 In September

[email protected]: Ranchers ask Trump administration for help | Should salt shakers carry tobacco-style health warnings?

tipped over salt shaker

Ranchers to Trump: We got you elected. Now we need your help

American cattle ranchers and feedlot operators are calling on the Trump administration to restore balance between cattle producers and meatpackers. A group of four meat processors—Tyson, JBS, Cargill and Marfig—control approximately 85% of the cattle market, which in turn is taking money away from farmers for every dollar of meat sold to consumers. Read more at New Food Economy

Salt shakers should carry tobacco-style health warning, say experts

The World Hypertension League is pushing for salt sold in supermarkets and salt shakers in restaurants to be clearly labeled with a “front-of-pack, tobacco-style health warning.” Unhealthy diets are the leading cause of death globally, and excessive sodium via salt consumption is the biggest offender. Sodium levels are labeled on many processed foods already but are difficult for consumers to interpret and avoid listing out health risks. Read more at MedicalXpress

Fast-growing B’More Organic closes its doors

B’More Organic, once the fifth fastest-growing food and beverage company nationwide, is ceasing operations after its new manufacturer “abruptly refused” to make more of the company’s product. Founder Andrew Buerger was told that production was finished after a single run and is moving on to become senior vice president of sales and marketing for protein chocolate ball company Trail Truffles. Read more at Baltimore Business Journal

Just a handful of nuts may help keep us from packing on the pounds as we age

Making a small handful of nuts a part of your daily eating routine could lower your risk for weight gain in the long term. A recent study showed that people who consistently ate nuts gained only a half pound each year, while those who ate them sporadically gained around one full pound. Read more at NPR

From voicebots and loyalty to data and delivery: What are the next big hits (and misses) in food tech?

Here’s a lowdown on the foodtech and media landscape as it exists in 2019. Some notable findings: personalized nutrition is thriving around nutraceutical and vitamin companies as opposed to diet and food-driven technology platforms, data analytics companies are now being acquired by their would-be clients and third-party ordering/delivery partnerships are “cannibalizing” restaurant operators’ margins. Read more at The Spoon

Dietary supplement use reaches all-time high

Dietary supplement use reaches all-time high

In its 20th year, the CRN Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements reveals the highest overall dietary supplement usage to date, with 77% of Americans reporting they consume dietary supplements. The survey reports the majority of both males and females, aged 18 and over, take dietary supplements, which is in line with previous surveys’ findings. Among all the age groups, adults between the ages 35–54 have the highest usage of dietary supplements at 81%.

“While the industry continues to innovate, there is no denying that these regulated products have become mainstream. More than three quarters of Americans are taking dietary supplements each year—a crystal clear trend that serves as an indicator of the vital role supplementation plays in their overall health and wellness regimens,” said Nancy Weindruch, vice president, communications, Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN).  

Who takes dietary supplements? 

  • 79% of female adults
  • 74% of male adults
  • 70% of adults 18 – 34
  • 81% of adults 35 – 54
  • 79% of adults 55+
  • 83% of adults with children under 18 in the household
  • 75% of adults without children under 18 in the household
  • 81% of adults employed full-time
  • 77% of adults employed part-time
  • 68% of adults without employment
  • 76% of retired adults
  • 81% of adults who are married
  • 73% of adults who live in the Northeast
  • 74% of adults who live in the Midwest
  • 80% of adults who live in the South
  • 78% of adults who live in the West

With respect to the types of supplements being taken, CRN’s 2019 survey found that vitamins & minerals continue to be the most commonly consumed supplement category, with 76% of Americans having taken these products in the past twelve months. The second most popular category is specialty supplements (40%), followed by herbals and botanicals (39%), sports nutrition supplements (28%), and weight management supplements (17%).

Results from the 2019 survey also reaffirmed strong consumer confidence and trust in dietary supplements and the dietary supplement industry, respectively; identified growth in specific categories, such as herbals and botanicals, as well as in specific supplements, such as vitamin C and melatonin; and pinpointed consumers’ key motivators for taking dietary supplements. More on these insights will be released later this year along with other 2019 survey findings, including brand new statistics on usage of CBD and nootropics, e-commerce habits and delivery form preferences.

 “The dietary supplement industry’s success in bringing to market safe, high-quality dietary supplement products that are an increasingly important part of Americans’ self-care regimens is reflected in our survey results,” said Weindruch. “As always, we cannot rest on our laurels. Our survey demonstrates that supplement users have evolving preferences and needs. Brand managers, marketing executives, or anyone looking for additional consumer insights to better understand this dynamic and rapidly growing industry will benefit from investing in the 2019 survey results,” she concluded.

This year, both CRN members and non-members are welcome to purchase the results of the 2019 CRN Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements. For more information, or to purchase the 2019 survey, contact Holly Vogtman ([email protected]).

Source: The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN)

Millennials boost Fair Trade label sales


With Fair Trade Month around the corner, it seems like a good time to evaluate what this label, which is supposed to signify products made by workers earning a living wage and who are afforded ethical labor practices, actually means for the natural foods industry. Does it have much of an impact?

A recent study from Fairtrade America, the U.S. chapter of certification body Fairtrade International, suggests it does–perhaps most among (surprise!) millennials.

The report found that price is becoming less of a barrier to people buying fairly traded goods–likely the result of the millennial factor, as this generation is significantly outspending other age groups on food and beverage products. The report references IRI research that found among millennials, food and beverage sales were 21.5% higher in March 2019 than in March 2018. “In a competitive landscape where brand loyalty is essential for survival, millennials value transparency–including fair trade and ethical labor practices,” said the report.

Fair trade could potentially help to boost that all-important sense of brand loyalty: the report also found that 76% of consumers would view a brand they already buy more favorably if it had a fair-trade label, and 64% would recommend Fairtrade-certified products to friends. The survey was conducted online among 2,000 U.S. consumers.

Data collected by Fair Trade USA, meanwhile, shows that 42% of consumers are more likely to buy a product when they see a certification seal, and that this marks an increase over prior years—according to the data, 38% of consumers said they were concerned about a company’s labor practices in 2012–and that jumped to 45% in 2017.

The organization has also announced a partnership with Chobani to explore the certification of fair trade dairy, the certification of more types of seafood, and brands released a range of new products that hit store shelves this year.

Theo Chocolate’s recent rebranding underscores the value of a clear, communicative label. Chief marketing officer Jason Harty said the chocolate company redesigned its packaging for a couple reasons, but among them were that consumers had been asking the brand to better communicate its dedication to fair trade practices. The new package now calls out its Fair Trade status across the top, and the fair trade certification logo remains at the bottom of the wrappers.

For all the interest in fair trade, though, it’s still a fraction of the total marketplace. Fair Trade USA issued a call last week for consumers to seek out fair trade certified coffee in its JustOneCup campaign— citing a collapse in global coffee prices, from roughly $2 per pound in 2014 down to 89 cents in May, that has left millions of farmers in crisis. “Forced to choose between selling their coffee for less than the cost of production or abandon their farms, more and more are choosing the way out in order to survive. Something has to change in order to save the future of coffee, starting with our choices,” the campaign’s website reads.

These organizations say the industry has a role to play in boosting fair trade, and the impact it has, by providing consumers with more ethical choices, clearly communicating the significance of those choices and their values as a company overall — and taking advantage of the growing interest that consumers do have in supporting brands trying to operate ethically. 

“Brands can increasingly differentiate themselves by appealing to consumers’ ethical concerns,” said Bryan Lew, Chief Operating Officer, Fairtrade America.

Colorado aims to promote economic development via ambitious hemp plan


In the Centennial State, representatives from academia, government and industry are collaborating on an ambitious initiative to develop a blueprint for how the state will manage the hemp market through a thorough examination of the supply chain.

The Colorado Hemp Advancement & Management Plan—or CHAMP—could function as a model for other states aiming to tackle the challenges and opportunities of a burgeoning industry whose skyrocketing growth and evolution has far outpaced regulations.

Hollis Glenn, director of the Division of Inspection and Consumer Services with the Colorado Department of Agriculture, said the state also wants to foster economic development.

“How do we help advance the industry?” Glenn, one of the state officials leading the initiative, asked in an interview. “That’s the A in champ.”

The M stands for management. “What is the regulatory framework that we need to put into place across the entire hemp supply chain?” Glenn inquired.

Hollis Glenn

Hollis Glenn with the Colorado Department of Agriculture is among the officials leading a groundbreaking hemp supply chain initiative

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has been working on regulations for the production of hemp. Once the regulations are adopted, states can submit plans to USDA for approval to administer their own hemp programs.

Colorado, which has administered a hemp program for five years, “really wanted to think beyond the requirements of the USDA plan” and examine the entire supply chain from the standpoint of regulations and economic development, Glenn said.

Enter CHAMP, an initiative comprised of 173 stakeholders broken out into eight working groups: research and development and seed, cultivation, transportation, testing, processing, manufacturing, marketing, and banking and insurance.

“It is a project designed to really formulate Colorado’s comprehensive blueprint for leadership in the hemp economy,” Gov. Jared Polis said Aug. 16 during the Hemp-CBD Supplement Congress in Denver hosted by the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA). “It is working on defining a structured supply chain and establishing a strong market for Colorado’s agricultural communities … , establishing industry guidelines to empower entrepreneurs, uncovering gaps, illustrating research and advancement, and looking at a center of excellence.”

Glenn said the blueprint is expected to be released in late May or early June 2020. It will lay out a comprehensive plan for such diverse areas as a certified seed program and law enforcement education, while government agencies and others like universities will be responsible for implement the sweeping plan.

Colorado officials tapped Colorado State University (CSU) to help conduct research and craft the blueprint, while CSU entered a sub-contracting agreement with Marijuana Policy Group.

Glenn explained why Colorado officials have included so many different stakeholders in the CHAMP initiative. Considering how nascent the hemp industry is, “it’d be silly to think that the regulators have all the answers,” he observed.

Governor Jared Polis.jpg

On Aug. 16, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis discussed a hemp supply chain initiative at a conference in Denver hosted by the American Herbal Products Association.

CHAMP’s board of directors includes representatives from various government organizations in Colorado, including (among others) the Office of Economic Development and International Trade, Office of the Attorney General, Commission of Indian Affairs, City of Boulder, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and Department of Public Safety.

“We’re going to have these conversations for years to come and figuring this stuff out,” Glenn said. “And the last thing you wanted to do is kind of have a bifurcated or splintered conversation with Department of Agriculture talking about cultivation and the Department of Transportation dealing with the transportation issue, and public health dealing with the processing issues.”

Tim Gordon, chief science officer of Functional Remedies, a provider of hemp-based products containing CBD, is a member of CHAMP’s executive committee and a stakeholder in the R&D and seed working group.

“From what I hear across the country, I think the CHAMP’s program … is going to make Colorado the continued leader,” he said in an interview. CHAMP, Gordon added, will generate revenue for the state of Colorado, create opportunities for farmers, and foster “opportunities for innovation—and that all starts with smart regulation.”

The R&D and seed working group is aiming to create guidance for farmers to ensure hemp crops don’t exceed 0.3% THC, Ean Seeb, special advisor on cannabis with Polis’s office, said during the AHPA conference. The THC threshold is specified in the 2018 Farm Bill, which removed hemp and its derivatives from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).

“That’s the first deliverable; the highest priority,” Seeb said.

The diverse stakeholder groups in CHAMP illustrate the breadth of challenges facing the hemp industry. Commenting on the transportation working group, Seeb said, “Marijuana and hemp are incredibly similar, and we need to be careful that we are creating a safe method of transport without the opportunity for seizure.”

Four of the working groups have met in person three times, while the other groups in processing, manufacturing, marketing, banking and insurance plan to meet for the first time in October.

“When you look at that supply chain from the regulatory lens, you really see the jurisdiction and the regulatory requirements move from the Department of Agriculture into public safety and health, and environment when it gets into the manufacturing and processing,” Glenn remarked.

Garrett Graff is managing attorney with Hoban Law Group in Denver and a stakeholder in the cultivation working group.

“Ultimately, the goal of the CHAMP initiative is to reconcile Colorado’s existing hemp program that’s been in existence since the 2014 Farm Bill to comport with the forthcoming USDA regulations,” Graff said in an interview.

Colorado officials aim to complete a state hemp plan, mostly consisting of work through the cultivation group, by November. But Glenn added a caveat: Colorado and other states are waiting for USDA to release its regulations, including requirements for state plans.

Graff praised the CHAMP initiative, though he acknowledged the challenge of soliciting input from a large group of stakeholders.

“Does that potentially create a conundrum of having so many voices in a crowded room?” the lawyer asked. “Certainly, but at the end of the day when you go through these sorts of rulemaking processes to ensure there’s as much consensus as possible, I oftentimes find it beneficial to … engage as many stakeholders as you plausibly can.”

“Of course, you’re never going to get everyone [involved], but neither do you want the counter argument to be, ‘Well, this was an exclusive group that made all these decisions on behalf of the entire stakeholder process,’” he added.

Katie Russell is a manager and research scientist at the Southwestern Colorado Research Center in Yellow Jacket, Colorado. Her center is part of Colorado State University’s (CSU) Agricultural Experiment Station, one of nine research centers throughout the state.

Russell is a stakeholder in the cultivation group, but she has not had the opportunity to attend any of the meetings in person on the Front Range.

Russell lives in the southwestern part of Colorado, about an eight-hour drive to Fort Collins—home to CSU’s main campus. Complicating her ability to travel long distances: she broke her ankle and can’t drive.

“To be honest, I haven’t been as involved as I would have liked to have been,” she said in an interview. “I guess one criticism [of CHAMP] is I don’t know that it’s been set up real well for us to be remote.”

Nonetheless, she also was complimentary of CHAMP’s inclusiveness.

“That’s great because it’s bringing in the banking industry, the processing industry, the research side of things, law enforcement and then producers,” she said in an interview.

However, she added broad stakeholder involvement is “very challenging because that’s a lot of moving parts, a lot of opinions, and then obviously, we have to remain steadfast in our regulatory approach to stay compliant with the federal side of things.”

Farmers in in her region—high desert at about 6,900-feet elevation—face challenges, including an arid climate and potentially steep transportation costs due to the lack of proximity to major markets like Albuquerque, Denver and Salt Lake City. Grand Junction—the nearest metropolitan area with a population of 62,000, according to World Population Review– is more than three hours away.

Some farmers around Yellow Jacket have started out with a half-acre plot or acre of hemp while others have scaled to 50 to 100-plus acres, noted Russell, who suggested it was important locals contribute to influencing hemp policies.

“Some of the more rural areas of the state can get a little bit—for lack of a better term—ignored,” Russell said. “So we don’t want to lose our traction in this playing field….”

Commenting on specific challenges facing local farmers, the research scientist said the costs of transportation to access markets could affect hemp farming depending on whether CBD holds its value.

“If market projections continue to hold out seeing very high values [for CBD], then it still makes sense for a farmer to be able to transport that product six or eight hours away,” she said. But the costs of transportation, she added, could function as a “real barrier” if hemp is grown more for fiber or grain.

Russell’s conversations with farmers underscore the potential to capitalize on a new crop as well as the potential risks.

“You speak to folks about, ‘Do you have a buyer already in mind?” the research scientist shared.  “Some people claim at least to have forward contracts, or they have purchasing agreements with processors in Denver.”

A forward contract, as Investopedia explains, is a pact “to buy and sell assets at a future date.”

Other farmers, Russell said, are waiting to assess the quality and biomass of their hemp at the end of the season.

“And then they’re going to look for a buyer at that point,” she said.

By government collaborating with industry, Colorado officials are hopeful farmers and others in the hemp supply chain can successfully profit from an evolving marketplace.

“By working together,” Seeb, Polis’s special cannabis advisor, said during AHPA’s conference, “we can ensure that Colorado is the best state for investment, innovation, development, production and distribution of safe, legal hemp and hemp-based products.”

Glenn acknowledged regulators will always lag the industry they are regulating since industry is constantly innovating. But government collaboration with industry can help close the gap.

“How big of a gap is it?” he asked. “And with this [hemp] being so new, we really did feel like a need for us to kick this into high gear for a number of reasons—mostly for public safety reasons as well as to provide safety and security for our farmers as well as economic opportunity.”

Glenn agreed the project is ambitious and Colorado officials would have liked some more time to outline the plan, but he said it was necessary to “seize the moment.”

That is something they have achieved. From establishing funding for CHAMP to creating the stakeholder group and holding meetings, officials have already made significant progress toward their objectives.

Said Glenn: “We’ve moved at a lightning speed.”

Editor's note: Sister websites and are collaborating to explore supply chain issues, helping to support innovation throughout the natural products industry.

The 2 most important things you need to do with your hemp CBD brand

Getty Images cbd oil and leaf

Compared to the larger dietary supplements industry, the hemp CBD world seems to operate in dog years. That is, it is moving, shaking and innovating in a compressed time scale of seven years’ time in just one year of real time.

Consider: Two years ago, topicals were not even considered as a product format. Today, creams, balms and salves make up roughly 17% of the market, according to Nutrition Business Journal's Hemp & CBD Guide.

Not to mention that this red-hot ingredient is now being sold in a greater diversity of sales channels than any other natural product ingredient—or any ingredient, period—in the history of commerce. Even Abercrombie & Fitch and your local ice cream shop are getting in on it.

But despite the latter-day gold rush, brought on by the passage last December of the 2018 Farm Bill, there remains some regulatory uncertainties in the market. That’s the reason these non-traditional outlets, and even mainstream food, drug and mass stores, are dipping their toes in the CBD pool only insofar as offering topicals.

That’s because while the farm bill removed the DEA from the regulatory equation, the FDA remains—although its position is somewhat nebulous.

“The 2018 Farm Bill was a significant influence on companies getting involved in this industry,” said Justin Prochnow, shareholder at the GreenbergTraurig law firm, at the Dietary Supplements Forum, held in Boulder, Colorado, Sept. 26-27. “Up to that point there was a threat that the DEA would treat your hemp as a Schedule 1 drug. The farm bill took the DEA out of the equation if you abided by the farm bill, which is that THC content is 0.3% or less by dry weight. So that was a huge deal.”

And the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is also involved. Its role is to ensure advertising messages are “truthful and not misleading.”

What you need to do

And that leads to one of the two top issues of which every brand in the hemp CBD business needs to be mindful.

The first issue is making sure your hemp product is below the threshold of 0.3% THC, which is the euphoria-inducing cannabinoid in the plant.

The second issue is making sure your claims are legal for dietary supplements and not drugs.

If you follow these two bedrock principles, “you’re a long way there,” said Prochnow.

“What can you really say about CBD and hemp?” asks Prochnow. “These range from the soft claim of ‘cures cancer’ [tongue in cheek] to lowers blood sugar to anxiety to depression. As we know, CBD is the cure-all for everything!”

“Number one, don’t make egregious disease-treatment claims,” he said. “You cannot sell a non-drug product to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent a disease.”

Prochnow noted that the FDA has yet to send a warning letter simply for using CBD. The FDA has sent warning letters on three separate occasions to dozens of companies. All warning letters share one element: companies making disease-treatment claims.

“It does give an indication that the FDA is not chomping at the bit of just going after CBD,” said Prochnow, “but always in conjunction with something else.”

In the category of nuance, Prochnow lawyerly noted that there is some wiggle room when making some specific claims.

“If you say your CBD product ‘Helps with post-exercise inflammation,’ the FDA considers inflammation a disease, but if you tie it to post-exercise you might get away with it,” he said. “But you need scientific substantiation for it. You can’t say, ‘Everyone knows that.’ The FTC does not consider ‘everyone knows’ as meaning that everyone knows.”

The distinct roles of the two federal agencies can be summed up that the FDA looks at claims and determines whether they are legal, while the FTC determines whether the claims are truthful and a company has science to back it up.

“You don’t have research on cancer,” said Prochnow. “If you did you’d be selling it as a drug and making a billion dollars. Selling CBD to cure cancer is an easy speed trap for the FDA. You can say it has hemp in it, say how many milligrams CBD is in it, and leave it there. There’s this great thing called the internet that tells people what you can do with it, you don’t have to. You really don’t have the science you’d like if FTC challenged you.”

hemp products connect directory logoLooking for hemp and CBD products that are doing it right? Hemp Products Connect showcases products from responsible brands reviewed and approved by New Hope Network Standards.

Natural Foods Merchandiser

Secret shopper: What fragrances are safe in personal care products?

Getty Images Fragrance remains one of the biggest mysteries of personal care product labels.

Natural Foods Merchandiser: How can I tell healthy fragrances from harmful ones in personal care?

Store: It can be tough. Usually, the ingredients list will just say “fragrance,” and unless it also says “natural” or “derived from essential oils,” then you really don’t know what’s in it. We always recommend that if you’re concerned about fragrance, avoid any product that lists only that term.  

NFM: Why are fragrances potentially harmful?

Store: Mainly because they can irritate skin and cause allergic reactions. 

NFM: OK, what about this shampoo, which doesn’t say “fragrance” but does name ylang ylang, cedarwood and a few other essential oils at the end of the ingredients list? 

Store: If it spells out the fragrance ingredients individually, then there is no mystery, so it should be safe.

How did this retailer do?

Jolene Hart, certified health coach and author of the Eat Pretty book seriesOur expert educator: Jolene Hart, certified health coach and author of the Eat Pretty book series

Fragrance, as this retailer correctly implies, remains one of the biggest mysteries of personal care product labels. The single word “fragrance” or “parfum” usually indicates a synthetic fragrance formula with as many as 3,000—or more—undisclosed components. One of the biggest concerns about synthetic fragrance is the presence of phthalates. Used to give scents staying power, these known endocrine-disrupting compounds have been linked to autoimmune conditions, birth defects, reproductive health issues and asthma.

As the retailer indicated, natural product manufacturers will often—but not always—use labels including “natural fragrance,” “essential oil fragrance,” “fragrance from natural sources,” “phthalate-free fragrance” or “no synthetic fragrance” on their product packaging to indicate that a formula is scented without synthetic fragrance or phthalates. But it’s difficult to be 100% sure in situations where the brand does not specify. While not foolproof, a quick sniff or patch test of the product can often reveal the presence of synthetic fragrance, which is typically much stronger, lasts longer and smells more like a conventional perfume than a scent found in nature.

This retailer is also spot-on in warning that synthetic fragrance can irritate skin and cause allergic reactions. However, it’s important to note that natural fragrance ingredients such as essential oils also pose that risk. In fact, most of the 26 common fragrance allergens that must be disclosed on labels are found in nature.

Discover the next big pet care brands at this exciting event

Dog and Cat Sitting

New Hope Network and Factory have teamed up to present the first annual Pet Innovation Challenge in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, October 2-3, 2019. Factory is an operating company with $250 million of investable capital that acquires meaningful equity stakes in high potential food, beverage and pet health companies. This go around, pet companies are the name of the game.

The Pet Innovation Challenge is rooted in collaboration, problem-solving and connection. Day One is like a Shark Tank-style pitch event where presenting pet care brands showcase their innovations that’ll move the industry forward. Day Two is the exciting Innovation Challenge, focused on the nitty-gritty collaborative problem-solving where entrepreneurs, investors, pet lovers and more join forces to solve the biggest issues for emerging pet care brands.

Here, Factory founder Richard Thompson gives a sneak peek of what’s to come on Day Two of the inaugural event.

What are some of the top challenges early stage pet care brands face today?

Richard Thompson: It's not just the one single biggest challenge, but getting distribution is always a hard problem. Getting the consumer insights to their products. A lot of people develop something that they think there's a need for and maybe there is or there isn't. Getting consumer insight is really, really important for these young entrepreneurs to know who their consumers are, get the distribution, then get the manufacturing to scale up. And then of course having the right capital and the right capital structure that you can get to finance these things is really critical.

Why is it important brands come together and collaborate to solve these issues?

RT: I think it's really important for them to come together because then they can learn from each other. A lot of them maybe have solved one of their issues, while the other one faces a new challenge. They can work together and talk to each other about how they've solved their challenges or what challenges they may have that's in front of them that they're going to try to resolve.

They [pet care brands] all need financing. They all need distribution. And I don't think anybody's afraid of saying, “Hey, I met this buyer over here at this company, and they were so great.” And, “Here's the phone number of [the person] you needed” or, “Here's a broker or agent that can help you get that appointment.” So I've seen a lot of really cool collaboration with these young entrepreneurs working together, and I just want to help facilitate it.

What can attendees expect to walk away with from the Innovation Challenge?

RT: They can walk away with the idea that they just met some really cool entrepreneurs that are really working hard to make a difference in the pet space. I think a lot of angel investors are looking for these types of entrepreneurs to back. I think it's a great intersection for entrepreneurs and angel investors to meet up.

The networking, I think, is the key that the entrepreneurs in the audience—be it mentors or angel investors or distributors, pet stores—that want to test and try these new products. I think it's really a great intersection for all these folks to meet up.

For more information and to register for the event, click here.

How natural companies are measuring environmental moves in 10 key areas


Nearly three-quarters of the companies that promised to take action to help reverse climate change last year are actively making good on their commitments in 2019.

They're finding the most success in reducing food waste and the least in policy implementation, although there was a significant increase in the number of companies working toward policy changes since the last tracking cycle. Food waste is also the easiest for companies to quantify, whereas environmental impact in terms of packaging and deforestation is proving to be harder for companies to track.

324 companies–largely manufacturers, retailers and brands–were given the chance to commit to all, some or one of nine practical climate initiatives via the Climate Collaborative. They can then work to scale innovative solutions with the end goal of making their operations measureably more environmentally friendly. 2019 marks the second annual tracking cycle update for this project. 

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To read the full report, click here.