Kristen Leigh Painter | Star Tribune
Reporter | Food industry

Kristen Leigh Painter covers the food industry for the Star Tribune. She previously covered growth and development for the paper. Prior to that, Painter was a business reporter at the Denver Post, covering airlines and aerospace. She frequently writes about sustainable food production, consumer food trends and airlines.

Painter has had a diverse reporting career, interviewing dignitaries in Tokyo, rebel leaders in Sudan and slaughterhouse workers in Nebraska. She has a master's of arts in journalism from the University of Colorado at Boulder and bachelor of science degree in history from the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband, daughter and an energetic Labrador retriever named Luna. In her free time, Painter likes to run, read fiction and plan her family's next trip or outdoor adventure.


Food corporations hunt organic, natural startups

Some organic startups are now eager to do business with giant corporations, in striking contrast to the movement's early days.


Co-founder of Organic Valley leaves the company

George Siemon helped build the co-op into a $1 billion business, but it lost money in 2017.


Applegate rolls out 'blend burgers,' as plant-based food trend muscles into meat

At organic food trade show, plant-based ingredients are influencing many new products.


General Mills announces regenerative land-use goal: 1 million acres by 2030

General Mills promises to expand regenerative-farming principles


Shrimp facility reveals some difficulties of business in Minnesota

Everything was going smoothly until two days before Thanksgiving when the company, state and town met for a technical discussion about minerals in water.


Sun Country admits cost-cutting is hurting customer service

Sun Country made many changes in 2018 that eroded its ability to find lost luggage and communicate with passengers. For months, complaints grew even though data showed it was not losing or mistakenly routing luggage more than it usually did.


Sun Country adds Fulton beer, Prairie Organic spirits to its flight menu

The Minnesota airline joins its peers in giving flight to local brands.


SunOpta fires CEO and sells corn, soybean unit to Pipeline Foods

Turbulence at organic food firm occurs even as demand rises for natural products.


Cargill adopts new goals to stop erosion of forest lands for farming

"Farming and forests can — and must — coexist," its CEO says.


Hormel posts lower quarterly profit, reveals CytoSport sale price of $465 million

Austin-based food maker saw sales rise, income fall against period when it got tax relief.