International

Bayer clears EU hurdle for Monsanto deal with sale to BASF

[21 March/Bloomberg] Bayer AG won European Union approval for its deal to takeover Monsanto Co. As part of the arrangement Bayer will sell BASF various vegetable seeds, pesticides and digital agriculture technology businesses. EU Competition Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, said they needed competition to ensure farmers had a choice of different seed varieties and pesticides at...

Trade war rips through farm world; soybean, hog prices fall

[24 March/Bloomberg] Following President Trump’s announcement of tariffs on Chinese imports to the US, China has been quick to implement reciprocal tariffs on U.S. imports which put commodities in the middle of a trade war. Soybean and hog futures fell as a result. Other commodities such as steel, ethanol, almonds, fresh and dried fruits were...

Monsanto Growth Ventures backs CRISPR start-up Pairwise in $25m Series A

[20 March/AgFunder] Pairwise Plants, a gene-editing company, raised $25 million in a Series A round co-led by Monsanto Growth Ventures and Deerfield Management. They have licenced programmable based editing technology which will leverage CRISPR-based technologies to create new crop varieties with favourable traits. Pairwise work with Monsanto in corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton and canola crops....

Purpose takes center stage for PepsiCo, Stella Artois and SXSW

 [19 March/Marketing Dive] Purpose driven marketing was being used by consumer products giants PepsiCo and AB InBev by leveraging a values-oriented approach to distinguish new products in crowded markets around the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas. PepsiCo’s VP of Marketing, Todd Kaplan, emphasised that purpose driven marketing didn’t have to be only related...

Chilean blues smash shipment record

[19 March/EuroFruit] Chile’s blueberry industry exported a total of more than 110,000 tonnes of fruit in the last year which has set a new export season record. The Chilean Blueberry Committee Executive Director, Andres Armstrong, warned that although results were better, the effects of the weaker and fluctuating dollar would impact returns. He said the...

Umami ingredient can reduce both sugar and sodium, company claims

[15 March/Food Dive] Salt of the Earth, an Israeli company, said its Mediterranean Umami ingredient can reduce sugar and sodium in savoury sauces. Umami is one of the five basic tastes alongside sweet, sour, bitter and salty. It is defined by its rich savoury mouth filling flavour. The company was targeting ketchup, barbecue, dressings, pizza...

Furious South Africa rejects Aussie offer to help persecuted white farmers

[15 March/The Country] South Africa rejected an offer from Australia’s Home Affairs Minister, Peter Dutton, to help persecuted white farmers. Mr Dutton said they faced horrific circumstances through violence and land seizures. He added that based on the information, he thought they needed help and that Australia would be able to provide it. The South...

Allbirds sells 1 million shoes, launches tree-based footwear

 [16 March/NZ Herald] San Francisco-based company, Allbirds Shoes, have sold over 1 million pairs of shoes. The company announced a new range made from trees and said it’s the most sustainable material used to date being manufactured from eucalyptus fibres which require 5 percent of the water and a third of the land traditional footwear...

Carrefour extend Blockchain use to dairy and meat product ranges

[8 March/Dairy Reporter] French multinational retailer, Carrefour, will use blockchain to give customers total traceability of its animal and vegetable product ranges. The technology will be applied to eight more product lines. Carrefour’s General Secretary and head of Quality and Food Safety, Laurent Vallee, said becoming the leader of food transition for everyone is their...

China Food Giant Says Trade War with U.S. Not Good for World

[13 March/Bloomberg] Cofco Corp, China’s biggest food company, is raising awareness of escalating trade tensions with the U.S. indicating potential suffering for the global economy and adverse situations if agricultural goods are used as bargaining tools. Cofco Corp’s President, Patrick Yu, said he didn’t think any government wanted to take action to block the agricultural...

RXBAR spreads its presence into the nut butter category

[8 March/Food Dive] Since being acquired by Kellogg, RXBAR is introducing its first product expansion by releasing a nut butter spread line-up, according to the Chicago Tribune. They will be on show at the Natural Products Expo West show in California with peanut butter, peanut butter honey cinnamon and almond vanilla flavours on sale. RXBAR...

Regenerative certification meant add to USDA Organic, not supplant it, developers say

[7 March/FoodNavigator] A new Regenerative Organic Certification program is to be launched this week at Expo West. Dr. Bronner’s, who withdrew from the Organic Trade Association in 2016 over disagreements about GMO labelling, is one of the driving forces behind the new certification. Dr Bronner’s Organic and Fair Trade Coordinator, Ryan Zinn, took a forward...

Ancient Nutrition secures $103M to promote on-trend bone broth, collagen & keto products

[8 March/FoodNavigator] Ancient Nutrition will invest $103 million that will allow it to reach and educate more consumers about its powdered bone broth, collagen products and ketogenic line, according to CEO Jordan Rubin. He said bone brother had become an overnight sensation, but was aware that when dealing with emerging trends it took effort to...

Bayer-Monsanto deal rests on BASF

[9 March/Euro Fruit] BASF were in talks with Bayer to acquire their seed business, whilst Bayer were trying to address anti-trust regulators’ concerns over its planned merger with Monsanto. Any deal would be dependent on the acquisition of Monsanto. The merger would make it the world’s largest maker of seeds and pesticides. BASF said the...

Cargill Offers Big Data, Digital Tools to Help Shrimp Farmers

[6 March/Bloomberg] Cargill Inc. planned to offer big data to aid shrimp production, expanding technology tools. Software that relies on machine learning and sensors will allow farmers to analyse various factors related to shrimp production according to executives from Cargill Inc. They are one of the world’s largest agriculture companies who have been collecting big...

AgriFood Tech Investment Surges to $10.1bn Bringing in a New Normal

[8 March/AgFunder News] Early food investment in agrifood tech start-ups reached $10.1 billion in 2017, increasing 29 percent over the level in 2016. Large deals including a $1 billion series H round by Chinese Restaurant Marketplace ele.me were the main reason for the increased investment. eGrocery start-ups raised 96 percent more funding in 2017 compared...

European superfine wool buyer calls on Australia to set new deadline to end mulesing

[10 March/ABC News] European buyer of Australian super fine wool, Davide Fontaneto of Vitale Barberis Canonico, has urged growers to end mulesing before customers go elsewhere to buy wool. Mulesing is a practice where farmers cut strips of wool-bearing skin from a sheep’s backside to keep it clean and fly free. He added that they...

Milkmen are returning to London as millennials order glass milk bottles in a bid to slash plastic waste

[25 February/Evening Standard] London dairies had identified an upsurge in customers at the start of the year due to public upset over plastic waste. Milk&more and Parker Dairies had noticed increased demand for glass bottles in 2018, and believe it was caused by David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II. It has been reported that there was...

Aussie Farmers Direct goes into administration affecting 100,000 customers, truckloads of produce turned away

[5 March/ABC News] Fresh food delivery company Aussie Farmers Direct went into voluntary administration, and blamed competition with supermarkets and the low cost of imported food. According to the administrator Craig Shephard, the closure would affect 260 employees, 100 franchisees and 100,000 customers around Australia. The company began in 2005 and was one of the...

Consumer enthusiasm for meat is still sizzling, survey finds

[28 February/Food Dive] The average home was eating four meals a week with meat or poultry according to the Food Marketing Institute’s latest Power of Meat report. The report found that those customers who know more about meat tended to buy a greater variety of cuts and cooked with it more often which has created...

Perfect Day, a maker of cow-free dairy proteins, raises $24.7M in funding

[27 February/Food Dive] A California-based startup, Perfect Day, that creates cow-free milk proteins out of yeast has raised $24.7 million in funding according to Food Navigator. They have patented their process of producing non-dairy milk. Perfect Day co-founder, Perumal Gandhi, said that he believed once they had shown the product at a commercial scale at...

Tesco aims to create “closed loop” of packaging

[1 March/Euro Fruit] Tesco’s Chief Executive, Dave Lewis, told the audience at the City Food Lecture that he is talking to the UK government about creating a closed loop of packaging system as part of a new sustainability campaign. He is considering using Tesco car parks as recycling sites for packaging to be reused in...

Mission launches Emeralds in the Rough avocados

[1 March/Euro Fruit] Mission Produce released its newest value-added offering to the avocado market of 2lb and 3lb bags of grade 2 avocados to be sold under the emeralds in the rough banner. The company said the avocados are not quite pretty enough to be top grade, and are the fruits that are weather blemished,...

Southern Field Days breaks crowd record

[21 February/NZ Farmer] Southern Field Days was the biggest to date, with over 41,000 people in attendance breaking previous records. Southern Field Days Publicity Officer, Justine Williams, said the organisers were happy with the attendance at the event. The 41,000 people exclude children under the age of 16 as they get in free, so it...