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Archive for the ‘Organic Food’ Category

Campbell to acquire organic soupmaker Pacific Foods – Supermarket News

Posted: July 8, 2017 at 12:42 am


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Campbell Soup Co. said Thursday it has agreed to acquire organic counterpart Pacific Foods for $700 million in cash.

The deal would be Campbells fifth acquisition in the last five years, and the fourth of a natural/organic food company, as it attempts to remake its portfolio around the burgeoning health-and-wellness movement.

Pacific, based in Tualatin, Ore., makes organic broth and soup, shelf-stable plant-based beverages and other meals and sides. It had sales of $218 million in the 12 months ended May 31. Campbell described Pacific as natural foods industry pioneer with strong health and well-being and organic credentials, particularly with younger consumers.

Pacific is an authentic brand with a loyal consumer following, Denise Morrison, Campbells president and CEO, said in a statement. The acquisition allows us to expand into faster-growing spaces such as organic and functional food. Moreover, Pacific Foods is an excellent fit with Campbell strategically, culturally and philosophically. It advances our strategic imperatives around real food, transparency, sustainability and health and well-being.

Campbell said it plans to bring its scale to Pacific Foods and invest in the business to drive full force growth. The company expects to expand distribution; boost marketing support for brand building to engage consumers and shoppers; and invest in R&D and the supply chain.

Pacific Foods will become part of Campbells Americas Simple Meals and Beverages division, which includes Campbells soup, simple meals and shelf-stable beverage units in the U.S., Canada and Latin America. The division is led by Mark Alexander, president, and includes leading brands including Campbells, V8, Swanson, Prego, Pace and Plum Organics.

Pacific was founded in 1987. CEO and co-founder Chuck Eggert will stay on as a supplier of key ingredients through his family farms. Weve spent the past 30 years focused on making nourishing foods with an emphasis on simple, organic ingredients and authentic, rich flavors, Eggert said. Looking ahead, a future with Campbell means we can maintain what we value while accelerating growth of the brand in a way that we couldnt do alone, reaching more people while increasing our impact on sustainable agriculture.

Campbell acquired Bolthouse Farms in 2012, organic baby-food company Plum in 2013, and fresh salsa and hummus maker Garden Fresh Gourmet in 2015. Campbell also acquiredthebiscuit company Kelsen in 2013, which boosted its international brand portfolio.

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Campbell to acquire organic soupmaker Pacific Foods - Supermarket News

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July 8th, 2017 at 12:42 am

Posted in Organic Food

FOG celebrates 30 years of healthful food – Gainesville Sun

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Cleveland Tinker @ClevelandTinker

Dealing with social justice issues associated with organic farming has been at the core of Florida Certified Organic Growers and Consumers of Gainesville's work since the group's creation.

Known as FOG, the nonprofit this month will celebrate 30 years of fighting for organic farmers, farm workers rights and for people on the lower rung of the economic ladder to have access to healthy food.

Both the Gainesville and Alachua County commissions declared July FOG Month.

Marty Mesh, executive director of the Gainesville-based organization, said it was established to support and promote sustainable organic agriculture through educating consumers, farmers, businesses, policy makers and the general public about issues associated with organic farming.

We decided to collaborate with farm worker organizations and other groups to promote organic farming standards domestically, Mesh said.

As part of its ongoing efforts to educate people about and promote certified organic farming, FOG will host two workshops this month.

The first, co-sponsored by the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, will be held from 1-4:30 p.m. July 24 at the Straughn Professional Development Center at 2142 Shealy Drive on campus.

It will focus on organic vegetable production and high-tunnel research results, and discussion topics will include benefits and challenges of high-tunnel production; disease and pest management; economic considerations; high tunnel structures; organic certification and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Cost Share program and soil fertility and crop nutrient management.

High tunnel farming allows farmers to extend the growing season of their crops by using a conservation practice available through the Environmental Quality Incentive Program offered by the USDA.

The second workshop will be held from 9 a.m. to noon July 27 at Frog Song Organics at 4317 NE U.S. Highway 301 in Hawthorne. It will focus on organic tomato grafting and high tunnel production.

Vegetable grafting is a horticultural technique combining parts from two plants to form one plant.

Both workshops are free, and those interested can register by calling 352-377-6345, extension 123, or emailing tyler@foginfo.org.

People from out of town attending the first workshop will be able to get reimbursed for their travel by the USDA, said Tyler Nesbit, FOGs education and outreach coordinator.

To celebrate its 30-yearanniversary, FOG will host an Organic Food and Farming Summit Sept. 17-19. It will be an opportunity for farmers to interact with innovators and leaders in organic agriculture to gain knowledge and training through farm tours, workshops, a trade show and a day of presentations on available resources, Mesh said.

FOG has spent its first three decades fighting for social justice in organic agriculture, primarily ensuring that healthy food gets to people most in need, educating organic farmers on issues and policies that affect them and educating and promoting the public about issues related to organic agriculture and improved food systems.

FOG, in cooperation with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, oversees the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program in Florida. The program provides financial help to those obtaining or renewing their certification with the National Organic Program.

To be eligible for reimbursement this federal fiscal year, producers or handlers must have received or renewed certification between Oct. 1, 2016 and Sept. 30 of this year. The amount of reimbursement is 75 percent of certification costs, up to a maximum of $750.

For information about cost on the cost share program, email costshare@foginfo.org.

FOG also offers a program that makes fresh, local produce more affordable and accessible to low-income families. The Fresh Access Bucks program increases the purchasing power of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamp) recipients by providing a dollar-for-dollar match for Florida-grown fruits and vegetables.

For instance, a SNAP recipient who spends $10 of their benefits at the farmers' market gets an additional $10 in Fresh Access Bucks to buy more fruits and vegetables, Mesh said.

The program is part of the Alachua County Farmers' Market, held from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays at 5920 NW 13th St.

For more information about Fresh Access Bucks, email info@freshaccessbucks.com.

Local residents can also get fresh organic fruits and vegetables from the Community Supported Agriculture program through Siembra Farm in southeast Gainesville just south of T.B. McPherson Recreation Center.

Cody Galligan, owner of the 20-acre farm, said $30 gets buyers an assortment of fruits and vegetables delivered to their homes.

Its a great way to support local farmers and for families to get fresh organic fruits and vegetables at a reduced price, Galligan said.

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FOG celebrates 30 years of healthful food - Gainesville Sun

Written by grays

July 8th, 2017 at 12:42 am

Posted in Organic Food

THANK A HOOSIER FARMER: Red Oak Farm is a consumer-supported organic ag business – Goshen News

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ELKHART Its confining to describe Red Oak Farm as a farm as this urban ag operation is more than planting and harvesting.

Nicole Bauman is one of six adults who live in two houses on a large city lot at 1721 Prairie St. The group of friends who call themselves the Prairie Wolf Collective due to nearby street names, divides tasks among themselves. Baumans task is to operate the farm.

The farm consists of an adjacent vacant lot that is leased from the city of Elkhart. That lot of less than 1/8th of an acre produces all sorts of vegetables and herbs for community-supported agriculture members who arrive each Thursday to fill bags and boxes. The members purchase a share in the garden in the spring and then are entitled to a box full of produce each week.

The shares can even be purchased by people using food stamps.

So far, 14 people have purchased shares this year, according to Bauman. She has several more shares available on a pro-rated basis because the garden is very productive this year.

Fresh produce is also available for purchase by the public each Thursday afternoon when the supply allows.

Community-supported ag

Such small-scale urban food producers are part of the community-supported agriculture movement that has popped up in the nations urban centers, according to Bauman.

We are trying to do a little bit of intentional community and experimenting with different sustainability practices, she said. And trying to be connected in this neighborhood where there is a long history of organizing and community building.

Bauman reaches out to the community by holding occasional classes on food preservation and canning. This fall, she will provide educational sessions for students at the nearby Roosevelt Elementary School. The Prairie Wolf Collective is also working on lead paint abatement projects.

Close by

Some of Red Oak Farm's neighbors have become good customers.

Kathee Kirchner lives just down the street. You can see her front porch from the collective's front yard.

You cant get any fresher than this, she said of the greens she was placing in bags.

Kirchner pointed out that Bauman raises exceptional okra, which she likes to share with friends.

Kirchner said she used to get organic produce from another local farm, but that business stopped its delivery service, so she found Red Oak Farm a few doors from her home.

Organic food is a staple in Kirchners diet, and she enjoys Red Oaks vegetables and herbs while they are in season.

There was a lot of love put into it, she said of the farm.

Out of season, Kirchner said she turns to organic foods she finds in local markets.

There are some market chains where we can get organic food from, but its just not the same, Kirchner said.

The other aspect of that is I love supporting the horticulture in the community, Kirchner said. Having a farm in the neighborhood. Jason (Nicoles partner) and Nicole do everything they can to conserve resources and to share with people in need.

Second season

This is Baumans second season of gardening on the property. Before that she was employed at another local organic farm.

Organic growing is something Bauman has experience with, having grown up on a small Ontario, Canada, farm that specialized in organic products. She sold microgreens to restaurants when she was in high school.

She said Red Oak Farm is not certified as an organic producer because the cost is prohibitive for such a small producer, but the practices used are totally organic.

For instance, her technique for controlling cabbage beetles is to plant small plots of the garden staple and then patrol the plants daily and pick any bugs off by hand. She said, so far, she has only lost one small planting of tomatillos to an insect infestation.

Thats fine, she laughed. That is part of the game.

She foregoes the use of pesticides, even those concoctions gardeners mix up themselves or purchase from suppliers of organic products.

Even that will harm beneficial insects, Bauman said. Like pollinators. So I just keep trying to build my soil. The healthier your soil is the healthier your plants are and the less the bugs are going to harm them.

Small vs big

The community-supported agriculture movement is ideal for small ag operations such as Red Oak Farm, according to Bauman.

People can go to the grocery store and buy a whole lot more for the same amount of money than purchasing here, Bauman said. Which has to do with farm subsidies, which is why that food is really cheap and also is not the same quality. Yes, it is a challenge for sure.

For small food-production operations like hers, Bauman said she cant afford to subsidize the cost of food for her customers as she is barely making minimum wage now. So she relies on the her payment plan through the CSA program to make it easier for people to purchase her fresh produce.

She is also optimistic that local low-income residents will see the value in Red Oak Farm products.

It is an opportunity for there to be truly fresh organic produce right here, Bauman said. I am set up to accept SNAP benefits, often called food stamps, WIC vouchers and seniors farmers market nutrition program vouchers. So people on those programs can come and purchase stuff.

Re-use and beauty

Eight years ago the city of Elkhart demolished a vacant house at where the garden is now, Bauman said. She believes Red Oak Farms repurposing of the lot is sending a positive message to the south side neighborhood.

It is an exciting thing for the people in the neighborhood to see that Oh, this space matters to people and this neighborhood is not forgotten and there can be business initiatives and environmental initiatives and beauty right here.'

And people in the neighborhood seem to have noticed the garden, according to Bauman.

I have experienced a lot of community building around it to, she said. By being out here all the time I get to know our neighbors better. ... I see neighbor kids and they stop by to see what I am doing and try a radish or a carrot. It builds a lot of connectedness.

Follow Roger on Facebook and also on Twitter @rschneider_TGN

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THANK A HOOSIER FARMER: Red Oak Farm is a consumer-supported organic ag business - Goshen News

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July 8th, 2017 at 12:42 am

Posted in Organic Food

Amazon’s Deal for Whole Foods Could Mean This Organic-Food Company Is Sold Next – TheStreet.com

Posted: July 6, 2017 at 12:47 pm


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Amazon Inc.'s (AMZN) $13.7 billion industry-transforming acquisition of grocer Whole Foods (WFM) is putting the takeover spotlight on Hain Celestial (HAIN) , the only remaining publicly traded pure-play natural- and organic-food company.

WFMis Hain's largest customer (indirectly), and it's where HAIN sells a variety of organic products, including well-known brands Terra Chips and Celestial Seasonings teas.

"Whole Foods has not been doing that well from a sales perspective," said Amit Sharma, analyst at BMO Capital Markets."If Amazon can turn that around, it would be a boost to Hain because [Hain] is one of the largest suppliers to Whole Foods."

Akshay Jagdale, analyst at Jefferies, agrees, noting that he thinks the market is missing the potential positive impact on consumption, assuming Amazon is successful in gaining share in the natural- and organic-food space.

However, even more importantly for shareholders is that Hain also has an activist investor at its gate. Engaged Capital's Glenn Welling launched a campaign last week that included the beginnings of a rare change-of-control director election battle at Hain. If successful at taking control of Hain's board - Welling seeks seven of eight director slots -- it is extremely likely that Engaged will seek to bolster sales through investment in promotion at the same time that the insurgent fund seeks to find a buyer for the company or some of its brands.

Wellinghas already taken a big step towards victory by accumulating a 10% stake -- and his track record suggests that some of Hain's big institutional investors already have his back.

As far as acquisitions go, some traditional packaged food companies could be interested in Hain or some of its brands, as they seek to increase their exposure to organic foods. These include PepsiCo Inc. (PEP) Campbell Soup Co. (CPB) , Hormel Foods Corp. (HRL) , General Mills Inc. (GIS) , Kraft Heinz Co. (KHC) , Nestle SA, and Unilever NV (UN) . A Hain auction would follow France's Danone SA's $12.5 billion acquisition of organic foods company WhiteWave Foods Co.

"It is easy to see why traditional packaged-food companies want to buy organic-food businesses," said Sharma. "Organic natural foods are growing at 8% to 10%, while traditional packaged foods are hardly growing. Conceptually, it makes sense for these companies to want to buy Hain, which could be that growth for them."

Also, consider also that Engaged, based in Newport Beach, Calif., has a mostly successful track record when it comes to organic- and healthy-food companies and M&A. Boulder Brands, which makes Earth Balance and Evol Foods, was sold to Pinnacle Foods in 2015 shortly after Engaged became involved.

Also, Engaged Capital helped negotiate an $85 million investment by Oaktree Capital in October at Canadian natural- and organic-foods processor SunOpta Inc. (STKL) , an investment that helped drive the company's shares up to its recent price of just under $10 a share (from about $6 at the time). Engaged has been successful at driving recent sales of companies in other sectors, including Redbox kiosk maker Outerwall Inc.'s sale to Apollo Global Management for $1.6 billion and medical device maker HeartWare International Inc. purchase by Medtronic plc (MDT) for $1.1 billion.

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Amazon's Deal for Whole Foods Could Mean This Organic-Food Company Is Sold Next - TheStreet.com

Written by grays

July 6th, 2017 at 12:47 pm

Posted in Organic Food

Prairie Roots Food Co-op opens in Fargo with mix of natural … – West Fargo Pioneer

Posted: July 5, 2017 at 10:50 pm


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General Manager Kurt Kopperud says the store at 1213 NP Ave. N. will be a big asset for the revitalized downtown and surrounding neighborhoods, with its mix of natural and organic foods, much of it locally produced.

"We're filling a need downtown," Kopperud said Sunday, July 2, as he and staff stocked and prepped the store.

The member-owned store is small by modern standardsabout 5,600 square feet of retail space; 8,800 square feet overallbut it offers a full range of meat, produce, dairy and groceries. You can grind your own coffee and peanut butter, grab a seasonal sandwich or smoothie from the deli, or try the salad bar and food buffet. There's even kombucha on tap.

"It will have some unique options you don't have downtown," Kopperud said.

Local farmers and ranchers are glad to have another outlet to sell their products.

Noreen Thomas of Doubting Thomas Farms near Kragnes, Minn., said Monday that her family is supplying whole grain rolled oats, oat groats, flour, rye, buckwheat and mushrooms to Prairie Roots.

"We're pretty excited about it. It's going to be nice to have another home ... for our local products," Thomas said. "For us, it's returning back to a lot of the foods that are really nutritious. It's like your grandparents used to eat."

Nancy Winkler, who with her husband, Mark, run Nosy Josy Buffalo Ranch near Fosston, Minn., is another fan of the buy-local philosophy.

"Everything they're trying to do is a positive thing. Buying from local is really awesome," Winkler said.

Nosy Josy is offering buffalo steaks, brats and ground meat now, and will probably add roasts in the fall and winter, she said.

"Extremely healthy. Most of your nutritional charts will say it's healthier than grilled chicken," Winkler said.

Prairie Roots' normal hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays, Kopperud said

Talks about creating a cooperative began in 2010.

The former Mathison's print shop building, where Prairie Roots is now, was purchased in 2015 by the Kilbourne Group. That same year, Prairie Roots announced it would move into the building.

The co-op rents the first floor and Kilbourne is expected to rent out the second and third floors, Kopperud said.

If Prairie Roots had opened when it was first envisioned, it would have been near the front of the pack in the natural food business.

Now there's plenty of competition: there's longtime downtown retailer Tochi Products, Natural Grocers on 45th Street and 13th Avenue South, and most conventional grocery stores have added natural food sections.

Kopperud is confident that location, product mix, and the cooperative model will ensure Prairie Roots will be competitive.

"We rely on members to sustain our business," Kopperud said. "There are not many places in town you can shop that you own."

Though anyone can shop at the store, the ownership stake lends people "a sense of pride. I think that's really cool," Kopperud said. There is a one-time fee of $300 for a household membership, but there are also smaller payment installment options. Members get some other benefits that nonmembers don't.

Jamie Holding Eagle, a Prairie Roots cashier and customer service representative, said the co-op will give people the opportunity to shop for fresh items daily, like many Europeans.

"I think that's so important, because you can buy more fresh food and eat healthier," she said. "We have the healthiest soil in the world, and this (store) kind of builds on it."

Kopperud said the store is adding more than 30 jobs to the area's economy.

"We have a really passionate and diverse staff," he said. "I'm excited to open it up and see the community interact with our staff and vice versa."

On the west end of the store, near the checkout registers, a community space is available for meetings and classes on cooking and local and organic eating.

On the east side of the building, an older, wooden structure is being renovated into a cidery and taproom, called "Wild Terra Cider and Brewing."

Kopperud said a grand opening for the store will be held a month or two from now, "once we get our legs under us."

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Prairie Roots Food Co-op opens in Fargo with mix of natural ... - West Fargo Pioneer

Written by grays

July 5th, 2017 at 10:50 pm

Posted in Organic Food

Organic crop farming in US slides even as demand for organic food increases – Genetic Literacy Project

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The time is ripe for Jeff Bezos to work his business acumen on an area of the US food system thats been slowly growing for years: organic food. And withhis purchase of Whole Foods Market[in June], hell have even more reason to try and convince US farmers to join him.

But theres a problem for Bezos if he wants to make organic food as ubiquitous as an Amazon-branded delivery box. As demand for organic fruits and vegetables has grown, the number of acres used to farm those crops has remained about the same.

For now, the US has relied on importing organic vegetables and fruits from other countries to make up the differencesomething some expertsremain dubious aboutwhen there are instances of imports of so-called organic corn and soy from China, for example, that have been found to be fraudulent.

[Editors note:TheNational Sustainable Agriculture Coalitionreports that organic farming increased in 2015. According to NSAC: A closer look at the2015 Organic Production Surveyreveals that virtually all of the increase of 691,289 acres can be attributed to a single livestock organic operation becoming certified in September 2015. Due to the addition of this large ranch, Alaska shot from up from having around 300 certified organic acres to having nearly 700,000, second only to California in total certified acres.]

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post:Amazons new grocery venture gives Jeff Bezos his greatest challengecreating enough organic food

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Organic crop farming in US slides even as demand for organic food increases - Genetic Literacy Project

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July 5th, 2017 at 10:50 pm

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Natural Grocers’ Downtown Denver Store Relocates to RiNo Bringing Organic Produce to a Food Desert – PR Newswire (press release)

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To learn more about the new 38th and Brighton store, visit: https://www.naturalgrocers.com/store-location/denver-rino-38th-and-brighton

"Most of Northeast Denver, including RiNo, is a food desert; there simply aren't enough quality food options within walking distance to the community," said Denver City Council President, Albus Brooks. "What makes this even more valuable is that Natural Grocers is a Colorado company that educates the community about health and sustainability."

Natural Grocers provides 100% USDA certified organic produce, 100% free range eggs, 100% pasture-based dairy, naturally raised meats and other high-quality food items at Always AffordableSM prices. The store will also provide free science-based nutrition education classes and a nutritional health coach who will offer free health coaching sessions at the store.

The store will also feature a new concept for the company: "Cottage Wine and Craft Beer," a nook where customers can purchase specialty alcoholic beverages such as craft beer, organic and biodynamic wine and hard cider. This marks the first time in the company's 62 year history that it has sold alcoholic beverages at any store.

The first 100 people in line on opening day will get to spin a prize wheel for a chance to win a variety of gifts, such as NOW supplements, Nova chocolate and Natural Grocers-branded items like cutting boards, cooler bags and coupons to use in the store.

The store will host a free community ice-cream social from 4 to 6 p.m. on July 27.

Grand Opening Celebrations

Opening day activities include:

The new RiNo store will feature a mix of national brands and a selection of locally produced products in a small, neighborhood market environment. The store will also feature a Nutritional Health Coach and offer free nutrition education classes to the public. The store will be open seven days a week.

What to Expect from Natural Grocers

Family-run Natural Grocers was built on the premise that consumers should have access to affordable, high-quality foods and dietary supplements, along with nutrition knowledge to help support their own health.

For more information visit: https://www.naturalgrocers.com/store-location/denver-rino-38th-and-brighton

About Natural Grocers by Vitamin CottageNatural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, Inc. (NYSE: NGVC; NaturalGrocers.com) is a rapidly expanding specialty retailer of organic and natural groceries, body care and dietary supplements. The company offers a flexible, neighborhood-store format, affordable prices and free, science-based nutrition education programs to help customers make informed health and nutrition choices. Founded in Colorado in 1955, Natural Grocers has more than 3,000 employees and operates 140 stores in 19 states.

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/natural-grocers-downtown-denver-store-relocates-to-rino-bringing-organic-produce-to-a-food-desert-300483494.html

SOURCE Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, Inc.

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Natural Grocers' Downtown Denver Store Relocates to RiNo Bringing Organic Produce to a Food Desert - PR Newswire (press release)

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July 5th, 2017 at 10:50 pm

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Amazon, Whole Foods merger could change food shopping – The Boston Globe

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Can Amazon democratize the Whole Foods experience without sacrificing standards? Its a question analysts ask.

Its tempting to imagine the merger of Amazon and Whole Foods as fodder for a technological experiment: What if you could simply ask Alexa for organic kale and have it delivered by drone in minutes?

But in the days since the tech giant announced it was buying the grocery store chain, experts in the food industry have begun to speculate about the cultural implications of the sale, and what a merger of Amazons customer-centric ethos with Whole Foods high-minded approach to food might look like.

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Grocery stores have generally lagged behind other retailers when it comes to innovation, said David VanAmburg, managing director for the American Customer Satisfaction Index. But if the Whole Foods side of our shopping and consumer experience can be made as timely and as efficient and satisfying as what the Internet has done for the rest of our retail shopping experience, he said, culturally it could be huge.

Long before we see drones taking off from Whole Foods rooftops, however, were likely to see the expansion of Amazons Prime memberships, VanAmburg said, enabling people who pay the $99 annual fee to get access to in-store coupons, deals, and better prices at Whole Foods than nonmembers.

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And while that might not seem much different from a traditional supermarket loyalty program, the distinction comes from Amazons deep understanding of shoppers habits. After all, this is the company that just incorporated its Alexa artificial intelligence technology into its fridge-friendly Dash Wand device, allowing you to both speak and scan barcodes to update your grocery list.

Amazon dominates the Web in online sales, but getting information about our in-store purchases has always been beyond its reach. Now, if Amazon knows that you bought eggs and peanut butter from the physical store, it could ping you when it suspects youre about to run out. And if youre too busy to get to the store? Theyll happily replenish your pantry with a delivery from Amazon Fresh, the companys existing grocery delivery and pickup service.

(Whether those deliveries would come from Whole Foods or other sources remains to be seen.)

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It has that sort of cool and creepiness factor, VanAmburg said, and it forces us to wonder: How much do we want to let [Amazon] know about us for the sake of convenience?

Doug Rauch believes were willing to let companies know quite a bit. The former president of Trader Joes, who now runs the Daily Table grocery store in Dorchester, said that Amazons maniacally customer-focused culture has already changed our shopping habits, in part because the companys data collection benefits the consumer, such as with the related items and customers also bought suggestions online.

With personalized digital insights, Rauch said, the treasure hunt aspect of grocery store shopping, or the ability to lure customers into making impulse purchases, can begin much earlier, with e-mails about new products available in-store or online. There might be a whole new relationship created with the customer and their food that may not have been crafted so easily or quickly, he said.

One possibility? A hybrid Whole Foods/Amazon store model might make picking out sundries far less cumbersome (particularly if you dread weaving a cart up and down the aisles). Shoppers have been hesitant to buy perishable items online, but Rauch envisions a system in which they pick out dry goods in advance think boxes of Hamburger Helper or tuna fish cans and then show up at the store to select meats, dairy items, fruit, and vegetables. At the check-out, the tuna and other such items are prepackaged and waiting.

The question that has been asked widely among industry insiders is whether Amazons approach to pricing will bring down Whole Foods sky-high receipts. After all, Whole Foods is the store that the public loves to shop at but hates to pay for. So can Amazon democratize the Whole Foods experience without sacrificing their standards?

Early signs say yes. And no.

William Masters, an economics professor at Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, said that the core values Whole Foods promotes like its focus on high-quality natural and organic products, environmental stewardship and healthy eating, and its relationships with suppliers might take a hit.

Chef Alice Waters published an open letter saying I sure hope you double down on the agenda and scale up the practices that we associate with Whole Foods, Masters said. My guess would be in an effort to reach scale, which is Amazons calling card, that they would do precisely the opposite.

Instead, he expects to see a broader range of products in stores that may not be local, organic, or sustainable. That would help bring down prices, as would the behind-the-scenes mechanisms that Amazon employs in its supply chain, like warehouse automation and buying in bulk. Another component that would help cut the prices consumers pay? Amazons ability to manipulate prices depending on circumstances: upselling for home delivery, for example, or trimming costs when a shopper places a recurring grocery order.

There is proof that as part of its effort to take on Walmart, Amazon has begun to focus on targeting a demographic with far less spending power than a typical Whole Foods shopper. Shortly before news of the Whole Foods deal broke, the company announced it was creating a low-cost Prime membership for $5.99 a month for people who use government food-assistance programs.

Some, like John Foraker, president of the organic food company Annies Inc., suggested this could solve the problem offood deserts by allowing healthy food to reach a much wider audience, and at lower prices.

When you combine [Amazons] delivery infrastructure with Whole Foods 450+ stores and organic food supply chain, you enable the delivery of natural and organic foods to most places in the US in a matter of an hour or two, he wrote in the days following the announcement.

And it makes financial sense, said Jason Chung, a senior research scholar at NYUs Sports and Society program, who points out that Whole Foods decision to open in lower-income neighborhoods in Harlem, N.Y., and New Orleans was met with enthusiasm from analysts. They have a business model, and I think they have the logistics expertise. They also have a business imperative to do so.

But farmers remain skeptical that such measures wont cut into their own margins.

Dave Chapman, an organic farmer in New Hampshire who sells his tomatoes at Whole Foods, worries that Amazon will drag down the companys principles in pursuit of lower prices.

My concern is that rather than using brilliant innovation to figure out the needs people have, they might fall into the trap of competing with Walmart, he said. It reduces the quality so you can reduce the price.

Over time, the biggest impact may be in the way Amazon gradually shifts the way shoppers feel about patronizing Whole Foods. Perhaps offering better service, lower prices, or a mission that offers greater access to a wider swath of the public will create a different emotional response in customers, as opposed to the knee-jerk guilt or exasperated sticker shock that many experience at the register.

In short, can Amazon help us to hate ourselves a bit less when we fill up our reusable bags at the checkout?

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Amazon, Whole Foods merger could change food shopping - The Boston Globe

Written by grays

July 5th, 2017 at 10:50 pm

Posted in Organic Food

7 Ways Chicago is Becoming the New Beacon of the Sustainable Food Movement – Organic Authority

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Chicago is undergoing a foodie revolution. From passing the nations largest soda tax to exploring new and intriguing options for local food, the Windy City is making leaps and bounds to become a beacon of sustainability.

Dont believe us? Here are sevenfantastic initiatives the Windy City has undertaken to further the transition to great, sustainable food.

Just west of Chicago in the prairie town of Rochelle, IL, indoor tomato grower MightyVine has restored acres of farmland that had been damaged by a developer. The growers use Dutch technology comprising a special diffused glass and radiated heat to grow tomatoes 365 days a year. The super-local tomatoes are delivered to stores just a few hours away in Chicago as soon as theyve been picked.

Sustainability is particularly important to MightyVine farmers, who have managed to provide a 90 percent water savings over field-grown tomatoes, not to mention reduced pesticide use as compared to most conventional growers.

You cant get more local than the organic produce grown on the 3,500-square-foot organic rooftop garden at Homestead on the Roof. Executive Chef Scott Shulman has his pick of herbs, chilies, tomatoes, peas, and more to concoct his versatile, seasonal menu, which is served on the 85-seat patio that sits right next to the rooftop garden, which also features two vertical hanging gardens, and dozens of planter boxes.

When Daisies opened last month, Chef Joe Frillman realized his dream of combining his passion for handmade pasta and locally sourced crops, almost all of which come from Frillmans brothers farm in nearby Prairie View, IL. But Frillman is taking the old trope of locally sourced ingredients to the next level, with the goal of rolling out an in-house fermentation program, too.

Daisies is also making strides in recycling cooking oil: used cooking oil is donated to be recycled for biodiesel, and the resulting profits are donated to charity.

Member-supported non-profit Slow Food Chicago is one of the largest chapters of Slow Food USA, with more than 500 members. Its myriad projects include the preSERVE Garden, a project created in 2010 in cooperation with the North Lawndale Greening Committee, the Chicago Honey Co-Op, and NeighborSpace.

In 2013, the city lot harvested more than 430 pounds of food from 31 different crops, and the gardencontinues to grow today.

Founded in 2011, the Urban Canopy comprises an indoor growing space and a two-acre community farm in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago. But more than mere growers, the Canopy members see themselves as educators and advocates for the urban food movement.

Founder Alex Poltoraks vision began while working with Chicago Public Schools as an Education Pioneer Fellow. After exploring how nutrition affects children in school, he was inspired to create the project to utilize idle urban spaces to attack this problem at the community level.Through volunteer availabilities, a Compost Club, and a CSA, the group endeavors to make farming as easy as possible on as many unused spaces as possible.

An unused mezzanine spaceof Chicago OHare Airports G terminal has been transformed into the worlds first aeroponic gardenby Future Growing LLC. The garden, made up of a series of vertical PVC towers where herbs, greens, and tomatoes are grown, uses a mere five percent of the water normally used for farming.

The produce grown in the airportis used by local chefs, including Wolfgang Puck, who runs a restaurant in the airport.

Marty Travis is a seventh-generation Illinois farmer. As his farming community fellvictim to Big Ag, Travisdecided to do something about it. He created Spence Farm, a 160-acre beacon of biodiversity where he grows a variety of ancient grains and heirloom fruits and vegetables and raises heritage breed livestock, nearly all of which is sold locally to chefs in Chicago. His story of preserving the history and practice of small sustainable family farming in is told in the film Sustainable Food.

Related on Organic AuthorityThis Technology is Successfully Predicting Foodborne Illness Outbreaks in Chicago (and Maybe Your Town Soon) But What About All the Deep Dish Pizza? Rahm Emanuel Wants Chicagoans to go Vegan Vancouvers Sustainable Food Scene is Totally Killing It

Emily Monaco is an American food and culture writer based in Paris. She loves uncovering the stories behind ingredients and exposing the face of our food system, so that consumers can make educated choices. Her work has been published in the Wall Street Journal, Vice Munchies, and Serious Eats.

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7 Ways Chicago is Becoming the New Beacon of the Sustainable Food Movement - Organic Authority

Written by grays

July 5th, 2017 at 10:50 pm

Posted in Organic Food

Organic food sales jump 8.4 percent in 2016 – Capital Press

Posted: July 3, 2017 at 1:43 pm


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Fruits and vegetables continue to lead the way in organic food sales, but proteins and condiments made big gains in 2016.

The U.S. organic industry maintained steady growth in 2016, with food sales increasing 8.4 percent to $43 billion breaking the $40 billion mark for the first time.

The sizable growth is even more impressive considering total food sales increased only 0.6 percent.

Organic food now accounts for 5.3 percent of all food sales in the U.S., another significant first for the organic sector, according to the Organic Trade Association in its 2016 Organic Industry Survey, conducted by the Nutrition Business Journal this spring.

Organic non-food sales also posted robust growth, increasing 8.8 percent to $3.9 billion, far surpassing the 0.8 percent growth in all non-food sales of comparable items, such as textiles, supplements and personal care items.

The organic industry continues to be a real bright spot in the food and agriculture economy, both at the farm gate and the check-out counter, said Laura Batcha, OTA chief executive officer, in the associations executive summary of the survey.

The robust industry continues to gain ground, gaining market share and making its way into new channels such as convenience and drug stores, foodservice and the internet.

Organic fruits and vegetables held onto the top position in the organic line-up with $15.6 billion in sales, 36.3 percent of all organic food sales. Those sales were 8.4 percent higher year over year, more than double the 3.3 percent growth in their non-organic counterparts, and now account for 15 percent of all produce sales.

Organic meat and poultry sales shot up 17 percent to $991 million for the categorys biggest gain ever. Meat and poultry is one of the smallest organic food categories, but organic poultry moved beyond many years of supply shortages and grew at a rate of 23 percent compared with 9.2 percent in 2015.

The other smallest category, condiments, is not a headliner but is showing interesting trends, according to OTA.

Dips and spices both hit home runs, recording the highest growth rates within the food categories, OTA reported. Organic dips posted 41 percent growth in 2016 with $57 million in sales, and sales of organic spices increased 35 percent to $193 million.

The survey did note oversupply in produce, poultry, dairy and eggs in 2016. The change in the organic marketplace from undersupply to oversupply simply exemplified the ebb and flow of supply and demand as the industry grows, OTA stated.

The biggest challenge is how to grow at a rate that allows for farmers to be paid fairly for the extra work they do in organic while also assuring stability of supply, shortage versus glut, spikes in prices versus drops in prices, said Matt Dillon, Clif Bars director of agricultural policy and programs.

Growth in the organic sector also continues to translate into jobs across the supply chain, OTA stated.

More than 65 percent of organic farms sold product in wholesale markets in 2016, and more than 60 percent of organic businesses with more than five employees reported an increase in full-time employment with plans to continue increasing staff in 2017.

Organic offers in many cases the choice for growth and more viable, stable prices for farmers and food manufacturers, Batcha said.

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Organic food sales jump 8.4 percent in 2016 - Capital Press

Written by admin

July 3rd, 2017 at 1:43 pm

Posted in Organic Food


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