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Amazon Buys Whole Foods – There’s More to the Story (Part 3 of 3)

Touch the Soil News #733 (headquarters of BlackRock, Inc. – the world’s largest investment management firm CC SA 3.0) Behind the scenes of the potential Whole Foods sale to Amazon, there is more at stake for the American public and particularly the investors than first meets the eye. Today, everyone assumes the stockholders of Whole Foods and Amazon will approve the deal. So, other than Jeff Bezos who owns only 16.9 percent of Amazon stock who are some of the other big holders of Amazon stock? Come to find out, some of the largest stockholders in Amazon (besides Bezos) and Whole Foods are one and the same – the institutional…

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Amazon Buys Whole Foods – There’s More to the Story (Part 2 of 3)

Touch the Soil News #732 (feature photo – Amazon headquarters in Seattle – CC SA 2.0) Who is Amazon? The surface answer is that it is the world’s largest online retailer. As we will briefly explore, there is a whole lot more to this story. Prior to diving into who Amazon is, our expectation was to find a company fat with profits, making lots of money and the reason why Jeff Bezos is considered the world’s third richest man. What we found was shocking. For the years 2011 through 2015, Whole Foods was more than twice as profitable as Amazon. Amazon had its first year of modest profits in 2016…

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Amazon Buys Whole Foods – There’s More to the Story (Part 1 of 3)

Touch the Soil News #731 (feature photo – Interior of the largest Whole Foods Market in East Village, New York – CC SA 3.0) Competition in the grocery business, when combined with the impatience of investors, may bring down grocery prices, but at the risk of broader economic decline in America. Americans will spend approximately $1.6 trillion on food this year – about half at restaurants and half in grocery stores. Unlike years past, the grocery industry has become concentrated (see News piece #725 Food Titans – Prepare for Battle). As Americans, we have become used to companies competing. However, the big companies left to compete are no longer just…

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Plenty – Can it Be So?

Touch the Soil News #710 (photo courtesy of Plenty) The information is sketchy, but unusual. Vertical hydroponic farming has been around for a few years and attracted a considerable amount of Wall Street money. There are claims that vertical hydroponics can produce more than 125 times that of field crops in the same space and use only 5 percent of the water. Recently, a new upstart called “Plenty” has garnered the attention of the Wall Street Journal and Fast Company. You can visit Plenty’s website at http://www.plenty.ag/ and read the articles. Different from rows of hydroponic plants with LED lights above them, Plenty uses 20 foot vertical towers with LED…

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Duking it Out

Touch the Soil News #703 Grocery stores are the realm of big capital. Unlike the small neighborhood grocers of 50 years ago, billions of dollars of investments have muscled into the backrooms of every grocery chain. Big investors have always warred against each other, but more aggressive incarnations are erupting in the grocery industry. As we speak, Canadian grocery stores continue to take a walloping from U.S. grocery giants that moved in. A recent story by the Canadian Press revealed that between 2004 and 2015, Canadian grocers lost over 11 percent of their market share to the likes of Costco and Wal-Mart. In the United States, American grocery stores are…

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Is Demand for Food Creating a Financial Frenzy over Farmland?

Touch the Soil News #484 (feature photo cc-by-sa-2.0) In 2008, while the focus was on the unfolding real estate crisis, another crisis was simultaneously unfolding. Through price shocks on basic grains, about 100 million people (bringing the total to over 900 million) were relegated to the ranks of the hungry almost overnight. Today, with the multitude of global trade agreements in place, one thing about the future cost of food is certain – food will go to the highest bidder in the world. There were shortages of wheat in 2008 in the U.S., as higher international bidders cleaned out the nation’s stocks. The volume of investor dollars looking for farmland,…

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The Food Chain – A Landscape of Power Struggles (Part 1 of 2)

Touch the Soil News #364 We perceive the 2016 Presidential Election to be important – because we believe whoever is President will have great power over our future. However, is it possible there are powers as strong as political power? Powers that – in addition to control over food – exert influence on the political system. Is there evidence of this power? Consider what happens when consumers want something better out of the food chain. To get change, people must employ protests, boycotts, letters and smoozing politicians – which can take years even decades to get action. The opposition to positive change is tremendously powerful. Consider how long folks have…

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The $84 trillion Gorilla – How it Jostles Food and Access to Food

Touch the Soil News #224 Peter Puffin and Freddie Frog team up again with Banker Bob. This time to explore one of the most pervasive influences on modern life and wrestle with questions that may be destined for future public debate. Want More? – Sign up below Special Deals Ahead…Sign up!

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