Vision Magazine - October/November 2023

On the Radar

August Grocery Inflation Continues Decline

Starbucks Facing Fruit- Related Lawsuit

In August, the United States Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose by 3.7% year over year, influenced by signif - icant increases in gasoline and oil prices. Despite this, grocery price inflation decreased, with the food-at- home index climbing 3% annually, a continuation of its declining trend from 13.5% in August 2022. Month-

A U.S. federal judge ruled that coffee - house chain

to-month, August saw a 0.6% CPI increase, with growth remaining under 1% since mid-2022. Energy prices significantly impacted August's inflation: gas prices surged by 10.6% and fuel oil by 9.1%. However, yearly energy inflation declined, with a 3.6% decrease in August. Grocery inflation also fell in Canada in August, dropping to 6.9% from 8.5% in July, despite CPI increasing to 4%.

Starbucks must face a lawsuit alleging that its Refresher fruit drinks lack the fruit their names suggest. The lawsuit was filed in August 2022, accusing Starbucks of deceptive marketing practices. Plaintiffs claim beverages like Mango Dragonfruit and Strawberry Açaí Refreshers don't contain mango or açaí berry, respectively. Joan Kominis and Jason McAllister argue that consumers reasonably expected the drinks to contain the fruits named. The primary ingredients are reportedly wa - ter, grape juice concentrate and sugar. While some drinks contain freeze-dried fruits, Starbucks hasn't explicitly listed all ingredients in these products.

U.S. Department of Labor Announces H-2A Reform

The Biden administration is introducing a proposal to enhance protections for immi - grant farm workers, focusing on safety and combatting human trafficking. The H-2A visa program, which sees immigrants, predom - inantly from Mexico, employed in seasonal

U.S. agricultural roles, has grown substantially. In 2022, 370,000 H-2A visas were issued, a significant rise from previous years. However, concerns about program abuses, including overcrowded transportation and increased fatalities, have grown. Julie Su, acting Labor Secretary, said the new proposal would facilitate easier inter - action between labor unions and H-2A workers and improve transportation safety.

AeroFarms Emerges From Bankruptcy

Following its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, indoor farming pioneer AeroFarms is restructuring with an emphasis on efficiency and focus on its profitable Danville, VA, farm, discontinuing many other projects. Molly Montgomery, with extensive experi - ence in the food sector, has taken over the leadership at AeroFarms as acting CEO. The farm, producing a range of microgreens distributed to over 2,000 U.S. stores, aims to achieve profitability soon. Past financial difficulties and a canceled public merger have challenged the company and the vertical farming sector. Yet, indoor farming grows, with companies like Plenty Unlimited expanding to meet sustainable produce demand.

12 Vision Magazine

October/November 2023

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