Whole Foods predicts top food trends for 2021

John Mackey discusses how supermarket chain has adjusted amid the COVID-19 pandemic

 

Expect veggie jerky, probiotic-packed sauerkraut and chickpea tofu in snack food aisles.

The future of snacking will be packed with immunity-boosting ingredients, like mushroom broth, fruit and veggie jerky and probiotic-fueled packs of roasted garlic sauerkraut.

More Americans are apparently looking to incorporate healthy supplements into their snacking habits, according to Whole Foods Market’s list of “Top 10 Food Trends for 2021,” released Monday.

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‘Future of last mile delivery’: Amazon reveals first custom electric delivery vehicle built with Rivian

Amazon is lifting the hood on one of three custom-designed electric delivery vans it built in partnership with Rivian.

 The new vehicle is 100% electric and features various technology such as sensor detection, exterior cameras that provide 360-degree views, Alexa voice integration, and more.

“We combined Rivian’s technology with our delivery logistics knowledge, and the result is what you see here-the future of last mile delivery,” Ross Rachey, director of Amazon’s Global Fleet and Products, said in a blog post.

Rachey noted that Amazon is working to build technology that supports physical charging infrastructure and “enhancements and optimization of our delivery stations.”

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Amazon One lets you pay with your palm

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Amazon wants its palm recognition technology in stores, stadiums, and office buildings

Amazon is unveiling its own palm recognition technology today that will be used initially to turn your hand into a personal credit card inside the company’s physical retail stores. Amazon One uses the palm of your hand to identify you, using a combination of surface-area details like lines and ridges, alongside vein patterns to create a “palm signature.”

At first, this palm signature will be used in Amazon’s own Go stores in Seattle, and the company also plans to add Amazon One to other Amazon stores in the coming months. Amazon One usage will eventually extend beyond just palm-based payments. “We believe Amazon One has broad applicability beyond our retail stores, so we also plan to offer the service to third parties like retailers, stadiums, and office buildings so that more people can benefit from this ease and convenience in more places,” says Dilip Kumar, vice president of Amazon’s physical retail business.

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EV startup Bollinger unveils electric delivery van

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The Deliver-E van will come in a variety of sizes with a range of battery packs for multiple cargo configuration.

 Michigan-based electric truck startup Bollinger Motors hasn’t started production on its rugged electric trucks, the Jeep-like B1 and the B2 pickup, but it’s already rolling out a new vehicle type. This week, the company unveiled the Deliver-E, its all-electric delivery van concept that is slated for production in 2022.

A lot of companies, from legacy automakers to tech startups, are developing their own electric delivery vans right now. But what sets Bollinger apart is the variability of its platform. The EV startup is promising a variety of battery pack sizes, including 70 kWh, 105 kWH, 140 kWh, 175 kWh, and 210 kWh. This will mean customers will have a variety of range-options, prices, and wheelbase sizes to chose from. The front-wheel-drive platform will be engineered to fit Classes 2B, 3, 4, and 5, Bollinger said.

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Amazon and FedEx push to put delivery robots on your sidewalk

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Amazon hopes its Scout robots will carry packages autonomously the “last mile,” from delivery hubs to homes. – ROGER KISBY/GETTY IMAGES

The companies are backing bills in more than a dozen states that would legalize the devices. Some bills would block cities from regulating them at all.

IN FEBRUARY, A lobbyist friend urged Erik Sartorius, the executive director of the Kansas League of Municipalities, to look at a newly introduced bill that would affect cities. The legislation involved “personal delivery devices”—robots that, as if in a sci-fi movie, might deliver a bag of groceries, a toolbox, or a prescription to your doorstep. It would have limited their weight to 150 pounds, not including the cargo inside. And it would have allowed them to operate on any sidewalk or crosswalk in Kansas at speeds up to 6 miles per hour, the pace of a quick human jog.

Lawmakers and lobbyists say the bill was drafted with help from Amazon. In later testimony to a state senate committee, Amazon lobbyist Jennie Massey said the bill would allow devices like Scout, the company’s bright blue, six-wheeled robot, “to bring new technology and innovation to Kansas.” She noted that Amazon had invested $2.2 billion in Kansas since 2010, and that the company employed 3,000 full-time workers in the state.

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Walmart launches on-demand drone delivery pilot. But it might take time before drones deliver your next order

Your future Walmart order might be delivered via drone.

 UPDATED: Days after Walmart announced its first drone pilot Sept. 9, the retail giant announced Monday it was teaming up with Zipline “to launch a first-of-its-kind drone delivery operation in the U.S.” and will test on-demand deliveries of select health and wellness products near Walmart’s headquarters in Arkansas.

The retailer announced the launch of an on-demand drone delivery pilot program with Flytrex, an end-to-end drone delivery company, on Wednesday in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

In a blog post, Tom Ward, Walmart’s senior vice president of customer products, said the pilot focuses on delivering select grocery and household essential items from Walmart stores using Flytrex’s automated drones.

“The drones, which are controlled over the cloud using a smart and easy control dashboard, will help us gain valuable insight into the customer and associate experience – from picking and packing to takeoff and delivery,” Ward said.

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Amazon plans to invest $100 million to help small businesses attract sales on Prime Day

 

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Amazon Global Online Stores Net Sales

Amazon is investing $100 million to help small businesses attract sales on Prime Day and during the holidays,

This is a key moment for Amazon to recruit SMBs because of the coronavirus pandemic and a rise in competition.

The etailer is investing $100 million to help small businesses boost their sales and customer acquisition efforts for Prime Day, which may occur in October, and through the holiday season.

It’s also on pace to invest $18 billion to help independent businesses make sales through spending on logistics, services, and other areas. It intends to work with 500,000 US small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that sell on its marketplace over the next 12 months to offer them its ecommerce expertise and other forms of support, as Amazon appears to be making a push to appeal to SMB merchants.

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Storelift launches autonomous convenience stores using AI and computer vision

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As physical retail struggles amid the global pandemic, storeowners are rapidly trying to adapt to new realities that also include growing competition from Amazon. But a French startup called Storelift believes it can create a new convenience store concept that leans on many of the same AI and computer vision tools used in Amazon Go stores to reinvent the shopping and checkout experience,

This week, Storelift announced that it has launched its first two stores under the name “Boxy.” The Boxy stores are repurposed shipping containers that can be plopped down in various urban neighborhoods that lack good shopping options.

The founders believe their approach demonstrates how businesses can exploit new shopping niches with the help of sensors, data, and AI that allows them to optimize their inventory and reduce costs.

“Our vision is really to address all the city areas where there are 10,000 people who have no convenience store,” Storelift CEO and cofounder Tom Hayat said. “We want to be as close to the customers as possible.”

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Amazon wins FAA approval for Prime Air drone delivery fleet

 

KEY POINTS

  • Amazon on Monday received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to operate its fleet of Prime Air delivery drones.
  • The approval will give Amazon broad privileges to “safely and efficiently deliver packages to customers,” the FAA said.
  • Amazon joins UPS and Alphabet-owned Wing, who previously won FAA approval for their drone delivery operations.

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Weed vending machine debuts in Colorado with more on the way

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The first ones landed at Strawberry Fields dispensary in Pueblo

 Anna, the weed vending machine, debuted at Strawberry Fields dispensary in Pueblo. The company hopes to expand to other Colorado location in 2020.

In an era when consumers can buy groceries, pet supplies and even a life-size cardboard cutout of Lizzo without directly seeing a human, one company is ensuring Coloradans can also purchase their cannabis contactless.

Matt Frost is founder and CEO of a company called anna, which makes what he calls a “tricked out vending machine” designed to take and fill orders for marijuana products. The first ones landed at Strawberry Fields dispensary in central Pueblo, where customers can now purchase flower, edibles and vape oils without having to interact with a budtender. They’ll debut at a second dispensary, Starbuds in Aurora, sometime this year.

Frost, whose background is in healthcare data analytics, originally developed the concept to adapt the efficiency of a retail self-checkout system to the marijuana industry. In his home state of Massachusetts, dispensary waits can be hours-long and some shops require patrons schedule a pickup time for pre-ordered products.

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Resale is thriving in the pandemic

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Since the pandemic began, the fashion industry has taken a hit. Retail giants have filed for bankruptcy, independent brands have closed, and brick-and-mortar stores, if they haven’t shut their doors, are still financially recovering from the months they were forced to stay closed during the lockdown. One of the few areas that has seen growth during this time, though, is the resale industry.

Online consignment platforms and secondhand retailers had already been seeing promising signs in the last few years. According to thredUP’s 2020 Resale Report, resale grew 25 times faster than retail in 2019, with 62M women buying secondhand products in 2019, compared to 56M in 2018 and 44M in 2017. The pandemic did not slow this growth.

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Meet the teenage ‘beauty boys’ coming for the cosmetics industry

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Gen-Z boys online are chipping away at the taboo against men wearing makeup – with or without the makeup industry’s help

In March of 2019, 17-year-old Elliot Ceretti walked into his local convenience store with a couple of friends. He had been re-watching the 10th season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and one of the show’s drag queens, Aquaria, had inspired an unfamiliar but exciting longing in Ceretti.

He loaded his basket with the cheapest makeup products he could find, and a glue stick to glue down his brows. When he got home that night, he waited until his mother and sister were asleep and locked himself in the bathroom, applying makeup like he had seen on the show. That night, he brought Ella Souflee, his drag persona, to life for the first time.

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