A big day, a big week, a big month; this issue features news in a gamut of proportions:

  • Producers of cell cultivated meat got their day of approval
  • Agriculturalists, activists and regulators observed Pollinator Week
  • Brands grappled with how to approach Pride month

Out of the Lab, Into the Fryers

On June 21, the USDA approved two cell cultivated chicken products for sale — a first in the United States. The FDA already deemed the products safe, but USDA had to approve labels for the products and clear the production facilities for inspectors to be onsite during operation.

  • Helena Bottemiller Evich of Food Fix reported that part of the USDA approval included settling the naming debate: “cell cultivated” beat out monickers such as “cell cultured” and “lab grown.” We prefer the catchier “nü meat.”
  • UPSIDE Foods (formerly Memphis Meats) celebrated the approval, reiterating its claim as the first company in the category. The company clarified: “Our cultivated chicken will bear the same USDA seal you’ll find on all meat products. Our meat and meat products are subject to the same inspection process as conventionally produced meat.”
  • GOOD Meat (owned by Eat Just) already sells its cultivated chicken in Singapore, but announced that its first point of sale in the U.S. will be at an undisclosed Washington, D.C., restaurant owned by José Andrés.
  • Agri-Pulse quoted National Chicken Council President Mike Brown, who was less-than-excited: “I think most Americans want their chicken raised on a farm, not in a laboratory.”
  • Fast Company’s Larissa Zimberoff cautioned that the products are unlikely to be widely available for some time, as production scaling lags far behind regulatory approval for both companies.

“The whole world could approve cultivated meat everywhere and that wouldn’t change or enable us to sell one additional pound in 2023.”

Josh Tetrick, CEO, Eat Just (Fast Company)

A Rainbow of Opinions

Retailers, restaurants and brands celebrated Pride month this June, but it was not without some controversy. We’ve been collecting the best anecdotes that encapsulate how the food industry is celebrating, reacting and sometimes pivoting.

  • Earlier in the month, both Newsweek and The New York Times documented retailers and brands celebrating Pride month, while noting differences from last year. The articles are not food-specific, but represent a good indication of the business climate in light of the uproar around Bud Light.
  • The Wall Street Journal’s Katie Deighton elaborated, “A raft of companies have stared down the threat of conservative boycotts with advertising and products celebrating Pride Month.”
  • Nation’s Restaurant News summarized research that named the best places to work for LGBTQ+ employees. Papa Johns, Shake Shack, Darden and Starbucks all earned top marks.
  • However, The Associated Press caught wind of some friction at Starbucks between HQ and union organizers over in-store Pride displays.
  • Drag brunch has become a point of contention between LGBTQ+ supporters and conservative communities. In response to the attention, the Los Angeles Times ranked local drag brunch locations, while Eater offered advice on how to be a good drag brunch guest.
  • Civil Eats focused on the farming angle and highlighted a handful of LGBTQ+ farmers to support, including Tenacious Unicorn Ranch, “an anarchist, trans-owned alpaca ranch and safe haven from the cis world in rural southern Colorado and beyond.” Wow, that’s some tagline.
  • Several influential companies and organizations we follow — including Sodexo, Conagra, Syngenta, PepsiCo, Sysco, the Environmental Defense Fund and Feeding America — all tweeted positive support of Pride month.

Pollen Nation

Pollinators like birds, bees, bats and butterflies play a crucial role in growing many food crops. Likewise, farming and gardening practices can affect wild pollinator populations. Government agencies, activist groups and brands alike chimed in during Pollinator Week (June 19-25):

Worth Reading

Pepperoni in the Park

Six years after launching Domino’s Anywhere in Australia, the quick-service restaurant brand is bringing address-free delivery capabilities to America. Nation’s Restaurant News reported that Domino’s Pinpoint Delivery will allow mobile customers to have pizza delivered to pin-dropped locations on a map. The technology will enable order tracking via GPS and text alerts, as well as visual signals customers can use to notify drivers of their exact location. Thin crust on the swingset, anyone?

5 Meters of Record-breaking ‘Bacon’

Being the country’s largest producer of whole-muscle turkey bacon isn’t enough for Godshall’s Quality Meats — the smoked meat maker wants to do what’s never been done before. Meatingplace reported that a judge from Guinness World Records will be on hand when Godshall’s attempts to cook a 16.6-foot slice of turkey bacon for more than six hours in a smokehouse oven. That’s a long wait for glory.

An Unhealthy Obsession With Healthy Eating

Have you ever heard of orthorexia nervosa? It’s a term for those who are obsessed with eating healthy. Is it real? Is it fake? Well, NutritionFacts.org traced the legitimacy of this disorder and how it can be “cured.” So, next time you order a kale salad with buckwheat, don’t be surprised if it comes with a side of orthorexia intervention.

The Changing of the Yields

American crop farmers are producing better yields than ever, according to the statistics from USDA, thanks to science and technological advances. Modern Farmer questioned how long this trend can continue as farmers across the country race to outpace climate change.

She’s Why I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream …

The Hustle posted a fascinating deep-dive profile of America’s forgotten pioneer of ice cream confection, Agnes B. Marshall. This 19th century chef/entrepreneur broadened the audience to the masses introducing imaginative frozen concoctions that included spices, vegetables, even meats. She also invented and patented one of the first home ice cream makers. Agnes, a grateful, treat-loving nation thanks you.