Had a long week? Good news: it’s time for our food tech news roundup. Double good news: this week’s stories will leave you feeling optimistic, from announcements about packaging waste reduction to inventors making a biodegradable coffee cup. Read on and get a positive start to your weekend.

Walmart to cut plastic packaging waste
Walmart this week announced a new initiative to cut in-store plastic packaging waste for its private brand (h/t FoodDive). The grocery giant promised to work with its private labels to create 100 percent recyclable, reusable, or compostable packaging by 2025, among other waste reduction commitments. The initiative is expected to impact over 30,000 SKUs.


Starbucks and McDonald’s testing sustainable paper cups
Cutting down on plastic/paper waste is a cause du jour for quite a few major food retailers. In fact, Starbucks, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and others joined forces with Closed Loop Partners last July to launch the Next Gen Cup Challenge, an open invitation contest aimed at finding a new disposable paper cup that is recyclable and compostable. Fast Company reported this week that Closed Loop has now picked its winning 12 concepts. The winners will share a $1 million grant and join an accelerator to test and manufacture their cups, which will be beta tested in September.


Photo: Chris Albrecht.

Kitchen United expands into Austin & Scottsdale
Virtual kitchen startup Kitchen United (KU) announced this week that it has signed lease agreements to open up new kitchens in Austin, Texas and Scottsdale, Arizona. The company plans to open up the new facilities in Q3 of 2019. KU has plans to open 15 new centers throughout 2019 to keep up with growing demand from restaurants for off-premise space for delivery. This news comes just a few weeks after KU announced new kitchen spaces in Columbus, Ohio and Atlanta, Georgia.

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