Every week we track the business, tech and investment trends in CPG, retail, restaurants, agriculture, cooking and health, so you don’t have to. Here are some of the latest headlines from last week and today.
Activist investor Jana Partners reported that it acquired a 2 percent stake in Blue Apron as of June 30, 2017. Prompted by what analysts call the “Amazon effect,” which is creating bargain stocks in the grocery sector, Jana Partners also purchased 593,000 shares of Sprouts.
Hampton Creek has seen a steady stream of articles alleging fraudulent product buyback schemes, boardroom squabbling, food safety issues and financial problems. While this led Target to pull the company’s products from its shelves, CEO Josh Tetrick refuted the media’s allegations in statements defending his company’s success in retail thus far. Other CPG news saw major acquisitions led by processed food giants, Hormel and B&G Foods. Ice cream sandwich concept Coolhaus shared its Cinderella story of how they went from a single food truck to 6,000 grocery stores.
For the inquisitive eaters, a deep dive into seafood’s lucrative and corrupt “dark web” reveals fraud, fish laundering and slavery. A cricket farm in Texas prepares to scale its farm tenfold in hopes of fulfilling its sustainable promise of supplying protein without the carbon and land footprint of beef. And lastly, an inside look into the complex breeding program of the world’s largest berry company, Driscoll’s.
Check out our weekly round-up of last week’s top food startup, tech and innovation news below or peruse the full newsletter here.
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To help us understand what lies ahead, and to accelerate the good food movement, Danielle Gould shares her thoughts about individualized nutrition, biomes, urban farms and more.
Jana Partners, the activist investor that reaped a $300m windfall after selling its stake in Whole Foods, acquired 2% of Blue Apron and 593k shares of Sprouts. Blue Apron shares rose as much as 5.3% after the stake was closed.
Fontanini makes authentic Italian meats and sausages, and other premium meat products, for the foodservice sector. Hormel plans to leverage company resources such as R&D, operations, supply chain and finance to grow the Fontanini business.
The retail giant decided to end the relationship after receiving what it described as “specific and serious food safety allegations about Hampton Creek products,” despite the FDA’s conclusion that their products are safe.
Tetrick refutes misleading reports made by Bloomberg, stating that their vegan mayo is outselling the biggest brands such as Kraft and the company is, in fact, in a good financial position with a great network of investors and operations team.
B&G Foods Inc. has struck a deal to buy SnackWell’s cookies and Back to Nature granola for $162.5m. The acquisition will give B&G more leverage with natural-foods retailers, such as Whole Foods and Sprouts.
When the co-founders of Coolhaus took their ice-cream sandwich side hustle to Coachella, their concept went viral. The company is now hoping to hit $25m sales over the next few years and become the Ben and Jerry’s of this generation.
Annual consumption is on the rise, and demand appears to be driven by seafood’s wholesome image alongside concerns about animal welfare, unaware of illegal practices such as seafood fraud and transshipment.
Cricket Company Aspire studied how crickets respond biologically to intensive production, then began focusing on cost-effectiveness. Their growing system uses a robotic feeder, machine learning sensors, and AI monitors.
Driscoll’s relentless focus on breeding has helped shape the supermarket strawberry.