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.
CPG companies are on the move. Califia Farms is expanding its plant-based empire with a $50 million investment. Nature’s Path has officially left the Organic Trade Association, concerned by support of the GMO labeling law and hydroponics. Dirty Lemon has hopped on the CBD train. Nestle is in talks to acquire Canadian pet food maker Champion Petfood for more than $2 billion.
At Whole Foods, hundreds of layoffs have upset workers and led to calls for unionization. Under Amazon, Whole Foods has also drawn ire from its suppliers, especially small artisans that are hit especially hard by the higher fees and Prime discounts. Amazon has super-sized its second grab-and-go grocery store in Seattle, which is set to be 70% larger at 3,000 square feet.
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Ambrosia Investments, Sun Pacific and Stripes Group led the investment. The capital will be used to expand its manufacturing facility and further develop go-to-market capabilities for commercializing recent launches.
The move follows the company voicing concerns that the OTA has shifted its commitment away from organic products due to a misrepresentation of organic food companies, its support of a GMO labeling law and of hydroponics being allowed to fall under the organic certification label.
The elixir—which is fit to tackle anxiety, diffuse stress, decrease muscle and joint pain, calm acne and improve sleep quality—includes 20mg of full-spectrum cannabidiol. Dirty Lemon aims to launch a new flavor every month.
Nestlé SA is angling to take control of Canada’s Champion Petfood as it seeks out higher-growth businesses to help offset its struggling packaged foods operations.
Dean Foods, one of the largest dairy companies in the US, has increasingly looked to diversify its portfolio beyond cow’s milk products and position itself further into the natural food space. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Funding was led by Boyu Capital. The IPO could take place in the next 18 to 24 months and the company is already in talks with both the Nasdaq and New York Stock Exchange. Trax is a startup serving the retail industry valued at $1b.
Suppliers fight fees, while workers push to unionize a year after the merger.
Funding was led by the Invenergy Future Fund, with participation from Scale Venture Partners, Uncork Capital, Emergence Capital, AngelPad and AirTree. The company plans to invest heavily in AI.
Investors including Kimbal Musk, Acumen, Maria Shriver, TOMS Social Enterprise fund and Chipotle are pouring $5.3m into Everytable, a health-minded fast casual restaurant. Its newly raised funds should help it grow in and beyond Los Angeles.
Target is installing cash-counting machines, and Walmart is adding shelf-scanning robots. Both chains seek to free staff to help shoppers.
Senators overwhelmingly approved legislation to legalize marijuana’s non-psychoactive cannabis cousin, hemp.
Any 10% discount on sale items offered to Prime customers will mandatorily be charged back to the vendor. This charge makes the hit that vendors already take on sale items even bigger.
Two of the world’s largest grocers will jointly source certain products at lower prices, raise quality and broaden their product offerings. The 3-year agreement will give the pair more scale in negotiations with global suppliers.
The new location will be 3,000 square feet, a 70% increase in size from the first store. The larger footprint may prevent the lines outside the checkout-free store.