This week’s food tech news was all about two things: meal kits and food (and grocery) delivery. From Kroger’s acquisition of Ocado’s technology to Good Eggs’ $50 million fundraise to Chef’d’s partnership with Byte, they kind of dominated the news cycle.
So it’s only fitting we have a few of those stories in our weekly roundup as well! We’ve got the download on Munchery’s downsizing and Blue Apron’s brick-and-mortar stores, as well as a new fresh produce purchasing incentive. And, to round it out, cookie dough.
Blue Apron goes brick-and-mortar
Meal kit company Blue Apron announced a series of pop-up events across seven cities. They’ll have an experiential retail location in NYC, as well as mobile pop-ups (food trucks?) in L.A., San Francisco, and Seattle and movie nights (???) in Austin, Dallas, and Minneapolis. At the NYC pop-up, open May 29th until the end of June, shoppers can check out Blue Apron’s latest products, listen in on panel discussions, and pay a small fee for cooking classes (proceeds are donated to City Harvest). Meal kits are transitioning from a delivery model to retail, and Blue Apron seems to be taking this trend one step further with these pop-up experiences. We’ll try to check it out when they come to Seattle and let you know if the experiment is paying off.
JUST Foods debuts new vegan cookie dough
From lab-grown meat to egg-free scrambled eggs, JUST Foods is working to create vegan versions of our favorite foods. Next up: cookie dough. In flavors like Birthday Cake, Chocolate Mint, and classic Chocolate Chip, this egg-free, butter-free dough will be sold in 14 oz jars, as well as single-serve cups and 5 lb tubs for foodservice. Just Cookie Dough first launched in 2016, but JUST Foods (then Hampton Creek) had difficulty keeping up with demand. They’re hoping their new co-manufacturer will help them meet customers’ growing appetites for plant-based foods. Bonus: You can eat it raw, no salmonella qualms!
Munchery cuts staff in 3 cities
Online meal delivery company Munchery has stopped operations in Seattle, New York, and L.A. They’ll still operate in San Francisco, their first and largest market, but are cutting around 30% of their staff, according to GeekWire. Unlike other food delivery services which partner with local restaurants, Munchery cooked their packaged meal offerings in their own kitchens, and also gave customers the option to order for multiple days.
Non-profit increases access to produce for low-income families
Wholesome Wave, a nonprofit which aims to increase underserved communities’ access to fresh produce, is launching a Reward Card to incentivize fruit and vegetable purchases. Low-income families in NYC will receive cards preloaded with $20, and if they spend it on produce at one of six participating supermarkets, they’ll receive more money put back on the card. Participants can get up to a total of $180 on their card through December 31st, 2018. Wholesome Wave has focused chiefly on doubling SNAP (food stamps) benefits at farmers markets since its launch, but their cards will help them reach a larger audience.
Did we miss any food tech news stories? Tell us in the comments, or tweet us @TheSpoonTech.