Whole Foods Market, King Soopers, Giant Food and Wegmans were among the grocers making the most progress in marketing, stocking and selling plant-based meat, dairy and egg alternatives, according to a new report released by the Good Food Institute. The study did not cover sales boosted by the pandemic, but GFI strategist Emma Ignaszewski said the research from 2019 showed "more than 700 new plant-based products hit the shelves at US grocery stores, which is another indicator that consumer demand is continuing to increase for plant-based foods."
Gotham Greens will launch production in a 30,000-square-foot Denver greenhouse to grow produce year-round for retail partner Whole Foods Market. The new location will be the eighth greenhouse for Gotham Greens, which is also launching two new varieties of lettuce.
Specialty crop farmers say the pandemic is creating a labor shortage this season that could linger in the years to come. "People are afraid to go outside and to go back to work," said Savannah Gillis-Turner, an Arrey, N.M.-based onion grower contracted to sell most of her crop to Walmart.
A survey of growers in Monterey County, Calif., shows that 2,093 acres of produce were lost or went unplanted this spring as a result of the pandemic. Thirty-nine percent of the growers surveyed reported losses and 20% said they had plowed under crops including spinach, broccoli, lemons and artichokes.
The USDA's $3 billion "Farmers to Families Food Box Program" provided one of its largest contracts to an event-planning company, which is late in delivering food to food banks in the Southwestern US. The delay has raised concerns about the ability of the company, CRE8AD8, to fulfill its obligations under the contract, and how the small event-planning company was awarded the $39 million federal contract.
Napa Valley, Calif.-based Caymus Vineyards has filed a suit against Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state's public health officer based on allegations that winery tasting rooms are being treated unfairly during the reopening process. Under California's Phase 2 reopening requirements for nonessential businesses, only wineries that serve full meals may open back up, but zoning rules in Napa County -- where Caymus is located -- mandate that food can only be an accessory to wine tastings and that wineries may not offer complete meals.
Sales of premium wines may be slowing, but e-commerce and retail wine sales by volume are still managing to offset cratering restaurant wine sales -- and wine sales are growing at the fastest clip for those priced in the $20 to $25 per bottle range rather than cheaper vintages, according to Nielsen. Meanwhile, spirits manufacturers are perhaps the industry's top beneficiary of the lockdown, with RTD cocktails, tequila, cordials and gin the fastest-growing categories respectively, said Danny Brager, Nielsen's senior vice president of beverage alcohol.
Vintners in Temecula wine country are giving competition to their northern California counterparts not only with their craftsmanship, but also with their willingness to experiment with different viticultural techniques and the region's many microclimates, Matt Kettmann writes. "There is room for trial and error, and every year we're doing experiments," said winemaker Olivia Bue of Robert Renzoni Vineyards, who produces conventional wines along with vintages based on Italian varietals such as barbera and Montepulciano.
A bill passed by Louisiana legislators would make alcohol delivery easier by granting third-party delivery services, like Uber and Shipt, the ability to use contract workers to make deliveries rather than requiring them to use direct employees. In addition, the bill permits stores -- which were previously restricted to wine and beer - to deliver alcohol.