Press Clips: USDA Clears Aurora Organic Dairy

Aurora Organic Dairy Cleared by Fed

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has closed an investigation into whether or not Aurora Organic Dairy was in compliance with federal standards for organic products, giving the dairy company the green light after no violations were found.

According to the Denver Business Journal, the investigation by the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) was spurred by a May 1 report in The Washington Post that cast doubt on Aurora Organic Dairy’s claims of being truly organic, including claims that animals were not sighted outside on pasture.

“NOP’s investigation did not find violations of existing USDA organic regulations by Aurora,” the agency stated in a letter clearing Aurora of wrongdoing. “The dairy is certified organic and in good standing under the USDA organic regulations.”

Aurora Organic Dairy supplies private label milk products retailers including Walmart and Costco. Had the Post’s investigation been found reliable by the USDA the company could have been charged for misleading consumers.

Walmart “Doubling Down” on Grocery

Refusing to shy away in the face of Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods, Walmart is pushing to improve online and brick-and-mortar grocery integration as it prepares to allow consumers to pick up online orders in-store.

According to USA Today, shoppers will be able to order groceries online and arrange for pickup from more than 1,100 Walmart stores nationwide by the end of 2017. By the end of 2018, nearly 2,200 stores will participate.

Despite tough competition from Amazon, Walmart executives told investors last week that the company expects to see a 40 percent increase in e-commerce sales within the next fiscal year. The retailer’s annual revenue is currently three times that of Amazon.

Bloomberg: Bubble About to Burst on LaCroix?

Is the bubble for bubbles about to burst?

A Bloomberg report Friday suggests National Beverage, maker of La Croix sparkling water, may be in risky territory. The success of La Croix has skyrocketed the company’s shares by 120 percent over the past year, but some analysts fear the stock is too expensive.

Stock prices for the company were valued at around $106 per share on Friday when the report ran, although prices dipped down to the $101 range early this week. According to Bloomberg, analyst opinions suggest the target price should be from anywhere between $40 to $135.

Part of the issue, the report suggests, is that National Beverage CEO Nick Caporella owns roughly 74 percent of shares, making the stock “volatile.”

But although stocks can fluctuate, sales of La Croix appear to remain strong, driven in part by a highly dedicated fanbase and consumer trends moving people toward low-sugar beverages such as zero-calorie sparkling water.

Attitude Drinks Out of Business

Attitude Drinks Incorporated, which sold the protein-heavy Phase III Recovery drink, is out of business according to multiple reports.

Filings from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) state that the publicly-traded company had failed to file periodic reports since June 30, 2015. Trading for the corporation has been suspended. Some posters on online investing forum InvestorsHub have called the stock a complete loss.

The company’s website has also been taken offline.

In May, Attitude Drinks CEO Roy Warren announced that he had partnered with Inko’s Tea founder Andy Schamisso and former Marvel Comics vice president Bill Jemas to form Gratitude Foods, a health-minded company that plans to launch food and beverages featuring ingredients with cancer-preventative properties.

Nooyi Braces for the Amazon Future

PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi is no Amazon skeptic. Speaking at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit in Washington, D.C. last week, Nooyi acknowledged the power and reach of the online retailer. In particular, Nooyi highlighted the impact the company’s data collection has on driving consumer buying habits.

Nooyi noted the importance for big brands such as PepsiCo to adapt to the changing retail culture and to make sure that they are not only represented on Amazon, but positioning for it.

However, while Nooyi praised Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos for his work, she did suggest it would be helpful for companies if he would slow the innovation while brands catch up.

“I’ll pay for it,” Nooyi told Fortune jokingly. “Every aspect of every vertical he’s disrupting. Every retailer would chip in for the Jeff Bezos fund. He’s a true visionary.”