Food and Drink

John Gapper

I cannot say that I was keen on New York City passing a law to force fast food restaurants to post the number of calories on the food items they sell. It struck me as a single state initiative that would cause of lot of bureaucratic difficulty for no very good reason.

Still, I am intrigued by the results, now that outlets have started to comply, and by the lesson that one’s instincts about which foods are calorie-rich are not always accurate. Read more

John Gapper

If Warren Buffett does team up with Mars to buy Wrigley for more than $22bn, it will be not only a quintessential Buffett deal but a reminder of where value lies in a downturn.

Mr Buffett has a sweet tooth, not only personally (he is known for his devotion to Cherry Coke) but as an investor. Berkshire Hathaway’s 8 per cent stake in Coca-Cola is among his longstanding stakes in big consumer brands. Read more

John Gapper

The world moves fast these days. Barely has one heard of something than it turns into a phenomenon.

Take the Clover filter coffee machine, which I learned the other day from perusing a local blog is an $11,000 machine that somehow makes better filter coffee than almost any of the alternatives. Read more

John Gapper

I am encouraged to return to the topic of supermarkets and plastic bags by the Daily Mail, my former employer (a long time ago). It has just launched a campaign to stop the proliferation of plastic bags in the UK under the slogan: Banish the Bags.

The Mail estimates that 13bn flimsy plastic bags are handed out by British high street stores each year. It is a classic example of companies and consumers not having to pay the financial cost of environmental destruction and therefore not caring about it. Read more

John Gapper

Further to my post the other day on the remarkable staying power of Marcel Ospel, the chairman of UBS, it seems the clock is ticking.

By cutting his term of office – and those of all board members – from three years to one, UBS is throwing a sop to investors who would like him to step down. Read more

John Gapper

Further to my ode to the joys of Nestle’s Nespresso machine the other day, here is the New York Times obituary of Ernesto Illy of Illycaffè fame. He ran "the Bell Labs of coffee" in Trieste before Starbucks had opened its first store in Seattle.

John Gapper

Further to my admiration for the supermarket in Davos that did not offer me a plastic bag, I note that it is only part of Switzerland’s green credentials.

Yale University’s environmental performance index, which was released at Davos, places Switzerland top of the league on factors including air pollution, water quality, greenhouse gas emissions per head etc. The study notes that wealth correlates closely with environmental performance: the richer you are the more you tend to care about such things.

 Read more

John Gapper


I got a Nespresso coffee machine for Christmas this year and I have written an FT column about it. You can read it here and post comments below. Happy New Year.

Starbucks_cup A word of praise for my local coffee shop. It does indeed serve good coffee but another reason I like it is that it offers it in sizes "small, medium or large". Yes, that’s right. Not "tall, grande and venti". Or "large, extra-large and super-size".

My colleague Tim Harford has written elsewhere about how one now has to ask specially for a short cappucino in Starbucks as if is a samizdat item. The menu starts with tall.  Read more