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 this week’s top headlines.
The grocery industry is grappling with Amazon’s increasing hold on the market. Retailers are considering new alliances–just this week Target and Kroger discussed a merger. Smaller chains are at risk of casualty, and the thousands of workers they employ may lose their jobs.
In restaurant news, former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is entering the cloud kitchen market, with plans to head and invest $150 million into his company City Storage Systems. Deliveroo has plans to create its own personalized food offerings, half the cost of food as well as automate delivery and food production. Sweetgreen has announced its first major menu change in 10 years. Platforms such as blockchain and years of research have allowed the chain to stay sharp in the fast casual field.
And finally, Senator Mitch McConnell announced plans to legalize industrial hemp. If the bill passes, it could have major implications for the natural food industry.
Check out our weekly round-up of last week’s top food startup, tech and innovation news below or peruse the full newsletter here.
The two companies began conversations last summer about a partnership that could improve Target’s grocery business and give Kroger customers more access to merchandise and e-commerce. Last year, their combined revenue added up to $195b.
Blue Apron’s culinary team and Airbnb Experiences have partnered to bring six weeks of international cuisine to home cooks.
The round was led by Renewal Funds with participation from agrifood tech VC Pontifax AgTech, Tesco, Tyson Ventures, Greenhouse Capital and Nicola Wealth Management. Funds will be used to expand its product offering as well as its sales, marketing and customer service teams.
The fate of thousands of supermarket workers is at stake, many of whom belong to labor unions and are owed pensions when they retire.
Fiesta Mart is valued at $300m, and its acquisition will position Modega Latina as one of the largest Hispanic food retailers in the US by revenue.
The farm is operated by Smallhold, a startup with a distributed network of mini farms in restaurants across New York City. Whole Foods is the company’s first retail partner. Its farm will grow up to 120 pounds of mushrooms each week.
Travis Kalanick will head and invest $150m into City Storage Systems, a new company that is repurposing non-performing real estate into kitchen facilities primarily for restaurants, shared-kitchen facilities, delivery services and other such establishments.
Tops Markets and Southeastern Grocers both filed for bankruptcy. The filings of both long-standing retailers have fanned fears that some chains won’t make it through the industry’s current turmoil.
Khosla Ventures led the seed funding round for Opentrons. The Brooklyn-based startup is building robots to automate the process of pipetting, a necessary task for getting DNA samples ready for sequencing. Funding has been used to develop and launch its robot.
Platforms such as blockchain have informed the company’s first major menu change in 10 years—a preemptive bid to to stay ahead of rivals in the fast casual field it helped create.
The company has plans to create its own personalized food offerings, half the cost of food, automate delivery and food production as well as double its profit margins.
Whole Foods just slashed its marketing staff as Amazon pushes the brand to cut costs. The cuts are company-wide and do not apply to only Whole Foods’ northeast region.
Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell announced plans to legalize industrial hemp as an agricultural product. If passed, the bill could have major implications for the natural food industry.
The company recently premiered its cultured chicken and duck at a private tasting, announcing plans to launch several poultry products playing off classic American staples.
Canada is poised to be the first high-income country to put warning labels on foods high in salt, sugar and fat. US trade representatives are seeking to override national food labeling policies in Mexico, Canada and the US through the NAFTA renegotiation.
AgShift’s seed round was led by Exfinity Ventures. It plans to hire more deep learning experts and prepare for full commercialization with more pilot studies.