Food and Drink

John Gapper

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My column in the FT this week is on the Cadbury takeover battle: Read more

John Gapper

My column in the FT on Thursday is about luxury and premium good in the downturn: Read more

John Gapper

The dollar is falling and the stock market is rising as investors become more convinced that the financial crisis is easing and that some sort of recovery is underway.

That exuberance is also spreading to imbibers of wine, it seems. Having fallen last year, prices for vintage wine are again rising, according to Hart Davis Hart, a US wine dealer. It was pleased with the results of one auction held in Chicago last weekend: Read more

John Gapper

Starbucks is still struggling to remake itself amid a global economic downturn that has dented people’s willingness to pay a lot for a frothy cup of coffee.

It does not seem to have made up its mind whether to become more of a value brand or stick with being a premium retailer. In fact, it is sending out signals that it wants to do both simultaneously.

So here is my suggestion: why doesn’t it become a retail bank as well as a coffee chain?

I realise that this sounds like a ridiculous idea (and may in fact be a ridiculous idea) but hear me out. Read more

John Gapper

It seems that Chrysler could eventually end up under the majority ownership of the UAW, its main union, with Fiat holding a minority stake. It sounds awfully like the revisiting of a past era.

In the 1980s, there was a rash of employee-owned companies emerging out of troubled private ownership. In 1994, United Airlines became majority owned by its employees after all else had failed. Read more

John Gapper

Good grief. Every so often, one learns something shocking about markets and this morning I found out that wholesale tea is priced in dollars rather than sterling (or the Indian or Chinese currencies).

This means that the British tea drinker is going to suffer even more from the rising price of tea than Americans because of the fall in the value of the pound against the dollar. Read more

John Gapper

I am not sure I believe the assertion by John Rishton, chief executive of the Dutch food retailer Ahold, that people will keep buying higher-priced food in a recession because it is an affordable luxury.

“It is relatively easy to forego a flat screen television, it is relatively easy to cut back on expensive luxury durable items,” John Rishton, chief executive, told the FT. Read more

John Gapper

As an orange juice consumer, I have observed the uproar over the new Tropicana cartons with bemusement. Even before a revolt blew up, I wondered what on earth Tropicana was thinking. Read more