Ongoing drought conditions in California are driving growers of processing tomatoes to cut back on planting the water-intensive crop, a trend that's likely to drive up prices on a variety of products including pizza sauce, ketchup and stewed tomatoes. More than 90% of canned tomatoes in the US come from California and shortages and higher costs are expected to translate into higher prices on restaurant menus.
Pittsburgh-based wholesaler American Farms Produce has begun a test of direct-to-consumer delivery of seasonal fruits and vegetables and specialty foods in select neighborhoods. Customers outside those neighborhoods can order online for pickup at the company's 100,000-square-foot warehouse.
Some flower growers in Ecuador have turned their fields over to hemp crops, betting demand will drive sales after the pandemic took a big toll on floral demand. Marijuana is illegal in Ecuador, but new laws allow for the cultivation of cannabis plants.
HelloFresh has introduced the HelloFresh Market, a digital store that offers add-ons to its meal kits, including pantry items, ready-to-heat meals and fresh produce. "Ultimately for us, the goal is to move to a broader food solutions group instead of a dinner solutions group," said HelloFresh US CEO Uwe Voss.
Unilever's plans to spin off its Tazo and T2 tea brands, Instacart's entry into grocery microfulfillment and Walmart's 100% tuition assistance for employees caught SmartBrief readers' attention this week. Campbell's Soup's redesigned labels and its sale of 100 nonfungible tokens to support Feeding America led this week's Top 10 list.
Indoor farming startups are increasingly attracting investors with high-tech operations that are immune to the elements and able to provide grocers and restaurants with local produce year round. Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Gotham Greens has grown to nine hydroponic greenhouses since opening the first on a rooftop in the city a decade ago.
UK-based startup Small Robot Company has raised approximately $2.77 million in its fourth crowdfunding effort. The company has created several robots to perform ag functions including mapping fields, analyzing images to gather plant data and eradicating weeds without chemicals.
Greenhouses and other controlled indoor growing environments are the key to keeping US farmers growing and reducing the need to import produce from other countries, industry representatives told House Agriculture Committee members this week. To succeed, the industry needs government help to increase production capacity and secure the labor needed to keep indoor farms running, executives from produce companies including PLANT-AG and Mastronardi Produce said.
Feelings don't necessarily drive your actions, and choosing to act can often prove elevating and energizing, writes Dan Rockwell, who notes that this is not medical advice. "Emotion is a feedback system that allows learning from behavior," Rockwell writes.
Leaders who recognize likely problems -- an unhappy customer or conflict between team members -- can be ready to respond to their occurrence and guide the team toward recovery, write Karin Hurt and David Dye. "You get more of what you celebrate and encourage, so be on the lookout for the moments where your team implements their recovery processes," they write.
Tricia Contreras is an editor at SmartBrief, where she works on both editorial content and content marketing spanning the foodservice, food retail and consumer packaged goods industries. If you like Produce Industry SmartBrief, hate it or want to submit a story, send her an email.
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