• United Natural Foods, Inc. and Square Roots, an indoor farming technology company, have "announced a new agreement to co-locate Square Roots' indoor farms on-site at select UNFI distribution centers. The first Square Roots farm, approximately 20,000 square feet in size, is planned for UNFI’s Prescott, Wis. facility and is scheduled to open in 2023 … As part of its Better For All initiative, UNFI is focused on building closer relationships with its produce suppliers to build an efficient, expansive, high-quality supply chain network designed to shorten the time it takes to deliver produce to retail customers. Produce from the first Square Roots farm co-located with UNFI is intended to serve UNFI's retail customers in Wisconsin and Minnesota, including the Twin Cities metro area."
• From the Washington Post this morning:
"Plant-based meat, heralded by many as the death knell to Big Meat, appears at this moment to have dealt only a flesh wound.
"The promise of high-tech meat substitutes prompted a frenzy of celebrity investment and red-hot IPOs in 2019. The pandemic saw significant consumer curiosity and a stampede of newcomers in the category, including entries from the world’s largest food and meat companies, with Tyson, Smithfield, Perdue, Hormel, Nestlé and others leaping into the fray."
However, "Meteoric growth in 2020 flattened in 2021 and retail sales have dropped more than 10 percent in the past year. Beyond Meat, the Los Angeles-based purveyor of plant-based burgers, crumbles, nuggets and such, saw its stock prices plunge nearly 80 percent from its peak, and last month the company announced it would lay off about 19 percent of its workforce. It’s not just Beyond: Meat giant JBS SA announced in early October it was shuttering its two-year-old Planterra business in the United States and closing its 190,000 square-foot Colorado facility, and McDonald’s has tabled its idea to roll out the McPlant burger nationally.
"The industry’s troubles come despite mounting evidence that people should, for health and environmental reasons, reduce their consumption of beef, lamb, pork and poultry produced via traditional animal agriculture."
The story notes that "most meat substitutes are lower in saturated fat than conventional meat, making them better for you in that regard. But manufacturers are trying to address skepticism about their high level of processing by developing new products that limit unnecessary ingredients and chemicals, and fortifying them with vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients."