Amazon Sales Forecast

Amazon is set to surpass $258 billion in online sales for 2018, accounting for 49.1 percent of all online retail spend in the U.S. In addition, Amazon sales make up 5 percent of the country’s total retail sales (online and offline) for 2018, according to research from eMarketer.

This is huge news for the company, which began as an online bookstore and expanded into a distribution giant, mostly by selling goods for third parties via its popular platform. Marketplace, which is Amazon’s dedicated platform for third-party retailers to sell and deliver items to Amazon shoppers, accounts for 68 percent of all online retail sales (about $176 billion, according to website TechCrunch). By the end of the year, sales for goods sold in Marketplace will be more than double the sales for Amazon’s own products.

FoodSwitch App

A new app keeps you more informed of your dietary choices, especially when it comes to your favorite packaged foods. FoodSwitch can tell you, for instance, whether one protein bar is healthier for you than another.

The app works like this: when you open it, you can scan the barcode of any food item you wish to know more about. The app reveals the food’s “Health Star” rating that scores each food’s nutritional value between .5 stars (unhealthy) to 5 stars (healthiest option).

The app also provides the ratios of fat content, saturated fat, sugar, and salt. When a user is thinking of purchasing a food item, the app employs a system of red, green and yellow “traffic lights.” When a food that has more than the daily recommended allowance of say sugar, then a red light appears. When the sugar content is relatively low, a green light appears.

Blue Apron and Bob's Burger Partner

Meal kit service Blue Apron has announced that three new specialty burger recipes will be featured in its kits this summer, thanks to its recent partnership with Fox Network’s hit animated series Bob’s Burgers.

The creative mind behind the recipes is Eggslut chef Alvin Cailan, who has brought to life some of the cartoon’s most popular burgers, including “The Gouda Wife,” “The Quantum of Salsa Burger,” and “The Absentee Shallot Burger.” Cailan first debuted the burgers in pop-up stores in L.A. and New York. These burgers feature creative food combinations, such as onion rings, chipotle mayo and corn and pepper salsa to top the burger.

Blue Apron is also collaborating with L.A.-based Hedley & Bennett to sell limited edition Bob's Burgers aprons, which will be available on the Blue Apron website beginning in August.

State Taxes Required to be charged by Online Retailers

The Supreme Court just ruled that states can require online businesses to collect sales taxes, changing the landscape of how many online businesses operate and potentially impacting future revenue.

In a 5-4 decision, the Court sent a boost to brick-and-mortar stores, especially major retailers that have found it hard to compete with the growth of online shopping. Many consumers gravitated to online retailers because they didn’t have to pay state taxes, but now that consumers might be faced with higher costs, online retailers might find their sales decrease.

This new decision breaks with a previous ruling that barred states from imposing taxes on purchases their residents make from out-of-state retailers. According to the LA Times, the Supreme Court had argued that a state couldn’t require a retailer that did business within its borders to collect sales taxes unless the retailer had a physical presence in the state, such as offices or employees.

23andMe New Features

DNA testing service 23andMe has added a host of new features to its service, and is promoting its at-home kits this week in commercials airing during the World Cup.

The company’s new Health + Ancestry package offers more than just a look at your genetic heritage, but also reveals what diseases you might be susceptible to and what preferences you are inclined to possess. You can find out if some of your habits and traits are part of your DNA, such as your “wake” time, the thickness of your hair, your preference or distaste for cilantro, whether you get angry when you’re hungry, and your sensitivity to sound.

23andMe is also spending money on its marketing, including a campaign called “Root for Your Roots,” which includes commercials airing during the World Cup. The inspiration behind the campaign began because America would not be competing in the 2018 matches, leaving fans wondering what teams they could support instead. 23andMe offered its DNA testing kits to help you decide, based on your own genetic heritage.

Marley Spoon Meal Kits

Meal kit service Marley Spoon, based in Berlin, has filed for an initial public offering (IPO) in the Australian Securities Exchange. The company aims to raise $70 million Australian dollars ($53 million USD).

Marley Spoon provides a similar experience to Blue Apron and Hello Fresh, offering recipes and pre-selected ingredients that can be ordered online and delivered to your door. Marley Spoon recently partnered with Marth Stewart under the Martha & Marley Spoon brand, and has also put money behind marketing efforts to gain a bigger share of the US market. In addition, the company launched a cheaper mass market meal kit service called Dinnerly to appeal to a broader range of customers.

But the trend of meal kit services is changing, and companies are looking for new distribution methods outside of online sales. Marley Spoon’s IPO comes days after Hello Fresh announced that its meal kits will be available in almost 600 Giant Food Stop & Shop stores, the largest launch of pre-portioned meal kits in stores.