New states in SNAP online pilot program going live this month and next

The newest states added to the Department of Agriculture’s SNAP online purchasing pilot program are planning to roll out the service by the end of April or mid-May, according to internal documents and news reports. Meanwhile, more states are eager to join the program as the coronavirus pandemic highlights disparities in food access. (No paywall)

Most SNAP recipients can’t buy groceries online. Now, some states push for change.

With millions of Americans sheltering in place, many are opting to buy groceries online for home delivery to reduce risk of exposure to the coronavirus. But that isn't an option for most people who receive federal food assistance from the USDA. Now, states are asking the department to address the issue, but the agency hasn't said whether it will update the policy. (No paywall)

With beef plant, Walmart tests supply chain and consumers

Walmart entered the beef business when it opened a processing plant in Georgia that will cut and prepare steaks and roasts for sale in 500 of its stores in the U.S. Southeast. If the plant is successful, says an analyst, “it could mean Walmart takes another step up the supply chain towards the producer.”

Independent grocers outnumber chains in rural America

A new report from the USDA found that while independent grocery stores outnumber chain grocers in rural areas, they account for a smaller percentage of grocery sales.

Founder of Immokalee coalition talks about his MacArthur ‘genius’ grant

The organizer and human-rights activist, Greg Asbed, co-founded the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, (CIW) which has worked with major retailers and food companies to guarantee better pay and treatment for farmworkers through the coalition’s Fair Food Program. Asbed recently won one of the 24 MacArthur 'genius' grants, worth $625,000, for his leadership. As he told The New York Times in a phone interview, he plans to turn over all of that money to the coalition.

Fifteen food companies pledge to cut food waste 50 percent

Fifteen companies, ranging from food processors to grocery and fast food chains, make up the inaugural class of "food loss and waste champions," said the EPA and USDA. The companies won the designation by agreeing to reduce food waste 50 percent by 2030, in line with an administration goal to conserve resources and to combat climate change.

Investors urge food companies to embrace plants over meat

“A group of 40 investors managing $1.25 trillion in assets have launched a campaign to encourage 16 global food companies” to change to plant-based proteins in light of the “material” risks of industrial meat farming, says Reuters. Among the companies targeted were Kraft Heinz, Nestle, Unilever, Tesco, Walmart, Costco Wholesale Corporation and Whole Foods.

What Trump and Clinton staffers eat

The Clinton campaign loads up on Domino’s and Walmart groceries, while Trump staffers hit up Trump Grill and McDonald's, says Eater. The site searched spending records from the Federal Elections Commission to find out how each presidential hopeful was feeding their staff.

Could thrifty shoppers thwart cage-free producers?

Even though big food companies like Walmart, General Mills and McDonald’s pledged to sell only cage-free eggs, producers are growing wary of investing in cage-free housing because “those premium eggs simply are not selling well,” reports American Public Media’s Marketplace.

America’s biggest produce leaders vow to help farmworkers

The nation’s largest produce industry groups have pledged to work together to improve farm labor conditions, in what could be the most significant step in the movement yet, says the Los Angeles Times. The Produce Marketing Association and the United Fresh Produce Association, which together represent thousands of retailers, growers and distributors, say they are considering an audit-based approach to improving working conditions, similar to that used by the apparel and electronics industries.