Four reasons to check out FERN’s SXSW panel on Big Food

Next week, FERN is headed to Austin, where I’m moderating two panels at SXSW! One of them — The Future of Big Food: What’s at Stake? — will take on big questions about where Big Food companies are headed. As eaters increasingly want transparency about ingredients, healthier options, and more sustainable packaging, where does that leave manufacturers? And will new labeling regulations shift the grocery environment? (No paywall)

Hampton Creek, self-styled pioneer in future of food, faces uncertain future

Hampton Creek, producer of the eggless “Just Mayo,” is losing $4 million a month and could run out of money in six months absent additional funding, said Bloomberg. The company has experienced months of infighting over control of the start-up and the role of co-founder Joshua Tetrick.

Vegan foodmaker says it quelled an employee coup

The maker of a vegan mayonnaise, Hampton Creek, accused three top employees of planning a coup and fired them. The company said the employees — two vice presidents and the chief technology officer — intended to change the governance structure of the Silicon Valley company so that new investors would have a greater voice in company operations.

Is non-dairy milk about to be mainstream?

Market research company Mintel says sales of non-dairy milk grew 9 percent in 2015, while dairy milk sales fell 7 percent, the food industry news site Food Dive says. "The non-dairy segment started out as an alternative category catering to those with food allergies but it has since evolved beyond a trend."

Bipartisan group in Congress takes aim at plant-based milk

With sales of cow milk flat or falling and those of plant-based "milk" soaring, a bipartisan group of 34 House member sent a letter to the FDA, urging it to "more aggressively police the improper use of dairy terms, which are used on the labels of many products that have no real dairy ingredients," reports Feedstuffs.

Tyson Foods buys share of company specializing in plant proteins

One of the biggest meatpackers in the world, Tyson Foods, "appears to be the first big meat company to invest in a business that, among other things, aims to reduce consumption of chicken, beef and pork by replacing it with plant proteins, says the New York Times. Tyson purchased a 5-percent share of Beyond Meat, based in California.