Thinly sliced: Whole Foods employees call for unionization, La Croix meets its match, and more
This is the web version of a list we publish twice-weekly in our newsletter. It comprises the most noteworthy food stories of the moment, selected by our editors. Get it first here.
Everybody speaks food. Variety reports that chef and TV host Eddie Huang is using “the world’s universal language” to his advantage when taking on immigration and representation in his upcoming show, Cash Only.
Above and beyond. Beyond Meat, maker of plant-based meat substitutes and one of a handful of similar looks-cooks-and-tastes-like-it startups, will triple its production capacity with a new facility in Missouri, AgWeb reports. The expansion, which the company says is a response to growing market demand, will take its manufacturing footprint from 30,000 to 100,000 square feet. How did pea protein get this popular?
Bud meets Bubbly. Only a few weeks ago, the breadth of our American seltzer revolution could be summed up by Whole Foods’ predatory pricing on its house-brand 12-pack—a strategy meant to dethrone the most formidable opponent in the fizz biz: La Croix. But we’re predicting that the Sparkling Watterati has met its match in California-based brewing company Lagunitas. According to Beverage Daily, the Heineken-owned brewer has legally and successfully launched the first THC- and CBD-infused beverage, which it calls Hi-Fi Hops. Due to hit California dispensaries this month in 5- and 10-mg dosages, Hi-Fi Hops is probably the only tonic that can actually deliver on promises of an effervescently chill time.
Hot fry. What’s the next frontier for McDonald’s? French fries that hold up after delivery. The New York Times travels from farm to boardroom as the country’s largest supplier develops a longer-lasting, crispier fry.
Honey trap. Last week’s Bloomberg story on the theft of 50 million bees has a lot of crazy details about the heist. But writer Josh Dean also includes tons of details about the New Bee Economy (sorry): In the span of a generation, the bee business shifted away from honey toward weirder revenue streams. One farm profiled in the piece makes most of its money by loaning bees to almond farmers to pollinate their crops—and its second-largest stream involves inseminating virgin queens by hand.
Whole’d up. On Monday, Whole Foods laid off hundreds of marketing employees, prompting calls for unionization, The Wall Street Journal reports. The layoffs are the latest in a series of efforts to streamline and centralize operations after Amazon acquired the grocer last year. Whether unionization is realistically in the cards is unclear, considering Amazon’s history of anti-union campaigning. Also: Remember when Whole Foods CEO John Mackey compared organized labor to herpes? Seems like more workers’ protections are in order.