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Ag Industry Brief: New CEOs Headed to Blue Apron and Chipotle, Cannabis Co. Buys into Blockchain, more

December 1, 2017

Blue Apron Co-Founder Steps Down from CEO Role

Co-founder and CEO of Blue Apron Matt Salzberg has stepped down from his position at the helm of the struggling meal delivery kit company. Blue Apron’s shares have tumbled by 70 percent since its June IPO. The current CFO, Brad Dickerson, who has been with the company since 2016, will replace Salzberg. Read more.

Chipotle to Replace Founder and CEO Steve Ells

Steve Ells, the founder and CEO of Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., has agreed to step down from his leadership role at the company, which he has led since its creation in 1993. Following an E.coli crisis in 2015, the chain has struggled to recuperate. The board has yet to name a replacement, and Ells will stay with the company as the executive chairman of the board. Read more.

Koch Biological Solutions Secures Exclusive Rights to Asilomar’s Yield Enhancement Technology

Koch Biological Solutions has secured global rights to commercialize and market products that contain Asilomar Bio’s yield enhancement technology. Asilomar’s technology has applications for a range of crops, including all major row crops and plantation forestry. The patent-pending technology targets crop yield potential through both genetic and physiological control of water and nutrient usage. Read more.

South Cambridgeshire Announces Plans for Agritech Park

South Cambridgeshire will begin construction as soon as 2019 on a new agri-park, called ARC, that could bring as many as 4,000 jobs to the area. Smithson Hill has submitted an outline planning application for the site, which will include commercial space for rent and nearby agricultural lands for research. Read more.

The Climate Corporation Expands Digital Agriculture Platform Into Europe

The Climate Corporation will introduce its Climate FiledView digital agriculture platform into European markets for the 2018 growing season. The analytics-based digital tools help farmers collect data in one place, track insights about crop growth, and evaluate yields. The company has conducted tests across France, Germany, and Ukraine in anticipation of the release in those countries. Read more.

Calyx Bio-Ventures Acquires Canada Blockchain Hosting Corp for Cdn$400,000

The Vancouver-based Calyx Bio-Ventures, which develops software programs for advanced indoor agriculture, acquired the Canada Blockchain Hosting Corp, in its first foray into the blockchain ecosystem. Canada Blockchain Hosting’s infrastructure provides tools to manage inventory, logistics, tracking, data accountability, and blockchain-based development and testing. Read more.

Produce Delivery Company Door-to-Door Organics Closes

Door-to-Door Organics closed earlier this month—the produce box delivery company had been in operation since 1997. Last year, the company merged with Relay Foods. Documents on file with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission suggest the company had been trying to raise a $20 million Series C funding round when decided to cease operations. An announcement on the company website expressed regret but offered little by way of explanation for the closure. Read more.

Nestlé and Campbell Soup Co. to Leave the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association

Major brands have announced plans to leave Grocery Manufacturers Association, the trade association that represents industry interests in Washington. Consumer pressure more transparent food labeling has divided the industry—where the GMA lobbied against GMO and added sugar labeling, Campbell Soup Co. and Nestlé have supported the move towards more transparency. Read more.

Walmart Expands Same-Day Delivery in San Jose with Deliv

In a move to further expand into the e-grocery delivery space, Walmart is working with its existing partner, Deliv, a last-mile delivery service, to provide same-day delivery of groceries in the San Jose, CA area. Customers shop online through the Walmart website, Walmart employees gather the items, and a Deliv driver picks up the bags and delivers to the customer’s home. Forecasts suggest that e-commerce grocery delivery will only continue to grow—by 2025, projections show that online sales will account for as much as 20 percent of all grocery sales. Read more.

In Partnership with Everlane, Freight Farms Expands to Vietnam

Freight Farms has partnered with Everlane, the San Francisco-based clothing retailer focused on transparency in the clothing supply, to install two of its Leafy Green Machines in Ho Chi Mihn City, Vietnam. The Leafy Green Machines are part of an effort to provide fresh food to factory workers at Everlane’s Saitex denim factory. Everlane purchased the hydroponic farms through its annual Black Friday Fund, an annual initiative that uses a portion of Black Friday sales to give back to factory workers. Read more.

Other News That’s Fit to Chew

  • We can’t necessarily count on DNA-based diet advice, reports Fast Company.
  • As bars nationwide embrace craft beer, more are turning away from industry stalwarts, according to the Washington Post.
  • Spain faces a shortage in jamon thanks to skyrocketing demand in China, says The Guardian.
  • Heineken is using AI, big data and the internet of things, reports Forbes.

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