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The Cost of Poor Pay and Working Conditions, Ransomware Attacks Target US Food Industry + More

Source: Forbes Every week we track the business, tech and investment trends in CPG, retail, restaurants, agriculture, cooking and health, so you don’t…

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Source: Forbes

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.

Alpha Food Labs, our sister company, was commissioned by Beef + Lamb New Zealand and New Zealand Winegrowers to understand the current state and future market potential of regeneratively produced food and wine within the United States, Germany and the UK. The research reveals consumers may be willing to pay more for regeneratively-produced food, especially if science can show it tastes better, is better for people’s health and better for the environment.

The instant grocery delivery space continues to heats up with news of Berlin-based Gorillas’ nearly $1 billion raise led by Delivery Hero. AeroFarms was set to go public after merging with Spring Valley in a SPAC deal that would have valued the company at $1.2 billion, but investors seemed to second guess its potential. Several companies announced substantial investments that will fuel their expansion plans, including plant-based meal service Allplants, frozen coffee startup Cometeer, specialty mushroom supplier Smallhold, QSR chain Blank Street Coffee and cultured breastmilk producer Biomilq.

For over six weeks, 420 workers at the parent company of Deep Eddy Vodka, Elijah Craig, and Evan Williams Bourbon have been on strike over healthcare cost hikes, schedule changes and overtime cuts. The food industry is at risk of another ransomware attack – BlackMatter ransom demands have ranged from $80k to $15m in cryptocurrency.

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Check out our weekly round-up of last week’s top food startup, tech and innovation news below or peruse the full newsletter here.


1. Regenerative Agriculture Market Scan & Consumer Insights Report

Alpha Food Labs, our sister company, was commissioned by Beef + Lamb New Zealand and New Zealand Winegrowers to understand the current state and future market potential of regeneratively produced food and wine within the United States, Germany and the UK. The research reveals consumers may be willing to pay more for regeneratively-produced food, especially if science can show it tastes better, is better for people’s health and better for the environment.

 

2. Germany: Gorillas Grabs ‘Close to’ $1B, Series C Values the On-Demand Grocery Delivery Biz at $2.1BTechCrunch

Since its founding in June 2020, Gorillas has scaled to operate more than 180 warehouses across its nine international markets.

 

3. AeroFarms Calls Off SPAC Deal After Funding Dries UpFood Dive

The vertical farming company was set to go public after merging with Spring Valley in a deal that would have valued the entity at $1.2b, but investors appeared to second-guess its potential.

 

4. CISA, NSA, FBI Say BlackMatter Ransomware Group Is Targeting the US Food IndustryTechCrunch

An Iowa-based farm service provider and Minnesota-based farm supply and grain marketing cooperative were both hit with ransomware attacks within the past month. BlackMatter ransom demands have ranged from $80k to $15m in cryptocurrency.

 

5. Why Are Heaven Hill Distillery Workers on Strike?Forbes

For over six weeks, 420 workers at the parent company of Deep Eddy Vodka, Elijah Craig, and Evan Williams Bourbon have been on strike over healthcare cost hikes, schedule changes and overtime cuts.

 

6. Eat Just Gets European Safety Approval for Key Ingredient in JUST Egg, Plans European LaunchGreen Queen

The milestone sets the groundwork for an initial launch of the vegan JUST Egg in Europe after safety review approval.

 

7. UK: Allplants Scoops $52M to Deliver More Plant-Based Microwave MealsTechCrunch

Alplants credits its growth to a rapidly growing flexitarian consumer market — which it says is now worth £10b in the UK alone.

 

8. Frozen Coffee Startup Cometeer Raises $35M in Latest Funding RoundFood Dive

The coffee market has seen a variety of innovations in recent years, but Cometeer’s use of frozen capsules and its promise of sustainability from its sourcing and packaging could help it stand out as it hopes to expand on a wider scale.

 

9. Mushroom Boom Leads Brooklyn Grower to Plant Its Organic Farms in the WestForbes

A $25m series A will help specialty mushroom producer Smallhold go beyond New York and Texas to build a farm in California. Since January, the company has increased production by more than 500%.

 

10. Blank Street Coffee’s $25M Raise Shows What Big Institutions Want From Food Service: Quality and ConvenienceForbes

The chain currently operates 15 tech-enabled locations throughout New York City, with a goal of expanding to 100 by the end of 2022.

 

11. Bill Gates Backs Lab-Grown Breastmilk Startup Biomilq Again in $21M Series AGreen Queen

The round will help Biomilq accelerate its plan to launch cell-cultured human breastmilk and disrupt the multibillion dollar infant milk formula industry within the next four years.

 

12. Instacart Acquires Caper AI, a Smart Cart and Instant Checkout Startup, for $350M, As It Moves Deeper into Physical Retail TechTechCrunch

Instacart is paying around $350m for the startup, as part of its expanding B2B2C retail tech strategy. It follows just weeks after the company acquired FoodStorm.

 

13. Vita Coco Cracks Open a Lukewarm IPO on the NasdaqFast Company

The coconut water maker is battling a deepening field of healthy beverage competitors.

 

14. Portillo’s Stock Hits the Nasdaq in the Latest High-Profile Restaurant IPOFast Company

The fast casual restaurant chain headquartered in Chicago has its sights on Wall Street today. Here’s what to know.

 

15. McDonald’s Beyond Meat Test Could Be a Game Changer for the Plant-Based CategoryForbes

The test will take place in eight restaurants across the US beginning November 3. The fast food chain has gained a significant amount of momentum with younger customers in the past year thanks to its “famous orders” promotion.

 

 


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