This approval will fundamentally change how meat makes it to our table. It’s a giant step forward towards a more sustainable future — one that preserves choice and life.” – Dr. Uma Valeti, the Chief Executive and Founder of Upside Foods


U.S. Approves the Sale of Lab-Grown Chicken
The Agriculture Department approved the production and sale of laboratory-grown meat for the first time, clearing the way for two California companies to sell chicken produced from animal cells. While it will likely be years before shoppers can buy lab-produced meat in grocery stores, the government’s decision will eventually allow the sale of lab-produced meat across state lines after passing federal inspections.

The decision is a milestone for companies making cell-grown meat, along with consumers looking for alternatives to chickens bred in a factory farm and slaughtered. Supporters of alternative proteins along with the companies that sought federal approval — Upside Foods and Good Meat — celebrated the news as pivotal for the meat industry and the broader food system at a moment of growing concern about the environmental impact of meat production and its treatment of animals.

The decision will make the U.S. the second country in the world, after Singapore, to authorize the production and sale of lab-grown meat. Bruce Friedrich, the president of the Good Food Institute, a nonprofit focused on cell- and plant-based meat, said U.S. approval was a critical step for the industry, adding that “the world does look to the United States’ food safety approval system, and now lots of governments will follow.”

About 100 companies worldwide, including dozens in the U.S., focus on the production of cultivated meat, according to Friedrich. The industry was valued at about $247 million in 2022, according to the market research firm Grand View Research, and could grow to $25 billion by 2030, the consulting firm McKinsey & Company projected. 


Summer Fancy Food Show Trends: Elevated Snacks, Alcohol-Free Sips, Upgraded Breakfast
The specialty food market encompasses items with limited distribution, premium ingredients and elevated preparations and neared $194 billion in total sales in 2022, up 9.3% over the prior year, and are forecast to reach $207 billion by the end of the year, according to new research from the Specialty Food Association, which produces the Fancy Food Shows.

The highest selling specialty food category last year was chips, pretzels and snacks, exceeding $6 billion in sales. Concepts debuting at the Summer Fancy Food Show include organic plantain chips, olive and za’atar buckwheat crisps and kettle-cooked potato chips seasoned with rose petal flakes. There’s also a new line of baked pita chips made with freekeh, a Mediterranean ancient grain with a nutty flavor.

Beverage brands continue to capture consumer interest in low- or no-alcohol options with chic packaging and complex flavors. Abstinence Spirits’ newest zero-proof products are sparkling blood orange aperitivo spritz and sparkling lemon aperitivo spritz, each featuring distilled botanicals and flavors from South Africa’s Cape Floral Kingdom. 


Amazon’s Own Prime Members Prefer Walmart Over Whole Foods. It’s a Worrying Sign for the Tech Giant’s Grocery Aspirations.
Amazon has spent years building out its digital grocery business. But a new survey suggests that a majority of its Prime customers are looking to another retailer for groceries that they can pick up or have delivered: Walmart.

About 60% of Amazon Prime members that Coresight Research surveyed in April said that they had purchased groceries online from Walmart at least once in the past 12 months. Roughly 55% said that they had ordered groceries online from Amazon Fresh or through Amazon’s website, while less than 14% said that they had ordered from Amazon-owned Whole Foods at least once. 

About half of Prime members said that they had shopped at Walmart for groceries in a similar survey conducted in 2022, while 57% said that they had grocery-shopped at Amazon Fresh or on Amazon.com.

Walmart’s growth in popularity among Prime shoppers comes as the retailer has expanded its own online grocery offerings, said Sujeet Naik, an analyst at Coresight. The Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer is opening new fulfillment centers and offers free grocery delivery as a perk of Walmart+, its own subscription program.

Amazon, meanwhile, added fees this year for Prime members who order less than $150 worth of groceries for delivery at a time. Previously, Prime members could get free delivery from Amazon Fresh if they ordered at least $35 in items. Members of Walmart+ still get free delivery on grocery orders of at least $35, a fact that Walmart highlighted when Amazon announced its higher threshold. 

Use of AI in Grocery Stores to Grow 400% by 2025
Artificial intelligence (AI) will create $113 billion in operational efficiency and new revenue, and nearly three-quarters of grocery technology executives believe AI will be incorporated into most of their software by 2025, according to a report by data analytics firm Grocery Doppio. 

The study of new technologies, conducted in partnership with FMI-The Food Industry Association, is based on interviews with 152 grocery executives. The research shows that implementation of artificial intelligence in supermarkets is expected to grow by 400% before the end of next year and could eliminate 18% of store associate positions, 73% of store tasks and 53% of shopper queries.  

AI has huge potential to transform execution of omnichannel strategies, but only 13% of survey respondents said they’re using the technology in more than one area of the store, though 74% said they are looking for AI capabilities when considering new software.  

These efforts are projected to generate $113 billion in value, with inventory management savings accounting for more than half at an estimated $58.4 billion. Advances in product assortment and pricing optimization through AI will save grocers $21.1 billion in merchandising costs, and another $15.7 billion is projected to be generated on marketing. AI will also save grocers $13.8 billion in store operation costs, $2.1 billion in customer service and $1.9 billion in IT/technology, according to the report. 

AI could have the biggest impact on the supply chain, according to 83% of survey respondents. Another 81% cited merchandising and 72% named marketing as areas where AI will have the most impact. 


Past Plastic: What Constitutes Sustainable Packaging?
We know consumers want less plastic and non-recyclable packaging, but how do they feel about alternative options? Do they prefer glass? TetraPak? Compostable packaging? Recycled paper? On top of packaging material, consumers weigh numerous other factors when deciding on products to purchase.