Food News Roundup: Labels, Prices, and Pennies

Could that really be bark in your oatmeal?

Lots happening in food news, at the Co-op and elsewhere. See what we’re following these days and catch up on a few things you might have missed. 

Food Prices Hit New Low

According to a new report from Bloomberg, food prices are at a new low after plunging for nine straight months. Low oil and grain prices are behind it, analysts say, which on the surface might seem like a victory for shoppers. But as Grub Street reports, a race to the bottom driven by cutthroat discounters isn’t necessarily a good thing.

Hunger Action Month

Our friends at the Upper Valley Haven, a lively shelter and food bank in White River Junction, Vt., “go orange” every September for Hunger Action Month. They’ve put together a quick list of things you can do to participate and make a difference. Check it out here

New Co-op GM Hits the Ground Running

The Co-op’s new general manager, Ed Fox, started September 6. Ed takes over for Terry Appleby, who retires at the end of this year after leading the Co-op for 24 years. Ed is a fascinating guy with a heart for people and food access. We sat down with him recently to talk about the socio-economic link between food, poverty, and hunger, and a co-op’s responsibility to make a difference. Stay tuned for the story, and in the meantime learn more about Ed here

Case Lot

It’s Case Lot time at the Co-op. By ordering what they needed by the case, our founders launched an idea we still honor today. As usual, we’re discounting the case prices on hundreds of items, including your favorite food, household, and pet products. We’ll even load your car. Case Lot is going on now, but it’s only for the next few days. Download the flyer and learn more.

Co-op Shoppers Donate Nearly $50,000 to Charity

Co-op shoppers have donated nearly $50,000 to Upper Valley nonprofits through Pennies for Change, a charitable-giving program built on an innovative approach to collecting money at the registers for area needy. The program is on track to raise more than $20,000 in September alone. What is Pennies for Change?

Is That Really Maple Syrup In Your Oatmeal?

Your maple oatmeal may not have a drop of maple syrup at all, UPI reports. Instead it might be a “maple-flavored” or an “artificially maple-flavored” additive that comes from tree sap or bark. Food companies can be very tricky about how they brand products to skirt FDA regulations. What’s a consumer to do? Get smart about reading labels, the FDA says.

Food Photopalooza

If you’re a geek for food and tech, like many of us are around here, you’ll love this: The latest update to Google Maps, v9.38, includes a dedicated album for food photos. Learn more

Seward Food Co-op Strives to Break Diversity Mold

Our friends at Seward Community Co-op got off to a rocky start with people in the Bryant neighborhood of Minneapolis, where the co-op was building a new store. But Susan Pagani reports in Civil Eats that a focus on diversity is making a difference. “The cooperative world is identifying the need to make a shift,” store manager Raynardo Williams told Civil Eats, “because, outside of providing access to great food, equitability and inclusivity are fundamental to the purpose of the co-op, and that means you should have a diverse and inclusive staff.”

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Ken Davis

Ken Davis is the Co-op's senior copywriter. Email him at