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
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
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
Nespresso, Nestle’s brand of espresso coffee and coffee makers, seems to be going from strength to double strength, according to the company. The brand’s annual sales grew 30 per cent last year, taking them past the SFr2bn mark well ahead of schedule, the New York Times reports.
I wrote a column about the success of Nespresso and the similarities – such as the combination of products and services – that it bears to Apple’s iTunes and iPod (and indeed iPhone) combination. It appeared about a year ago and, despite the recession, Nespresso is still doing well. Read more
I can see two obvious flaws in the proposal by David Paterson, governor of New York (and Eliot Spitzer’s successor) to impose a “fat tax” on soft drinks such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi while allowing the diet versions of the drinks to escape.
One is that, if it really worked as advertised in making people cry off Coke and Pepsi, then the measure would not raise sorely-needed taxes for New York. In practice, the health aspect seems more like a cover story, rather like marketing taxes on petrol as “green taxes”. Read more
Is Big Cereal going the way of Big Pharma?
I ask because there seems to be some evidence of sagging innovation in the all-important breakfast cereal market.
Consider this article in Fortune that extols the relentless efforts by General Mills, the maker of Cheerios, Wheaties and Lucky Charms, to fatten its margins by cutting costs. It cites General Mills’ elimination of letter shapes in its Hot’n’Spicy Chex Mix, which has provoked this online protest petition.
Then consider this chart of branded cereal innovation in the 20th century produced by Geek Out New York. It shows a burst of cereal creativity in the mid-century that brought us such great names as Rice Krispies (1928), Cheerios (1941) and Special K (1956). There is a history of Cheerios here. Read more
So what will higher commodity prices and discontent among McDonald’s franchisees do to the Dollar Menu?
The question arose yesterday after McDonald’s disclosed its second quarter results and said it was considering changes to the Dollar Menu, which offers US customers items such as a double cheeseburger or a McChicken Sandwich for a dollar. Read more
I have reviewed a new book by Donald Keough, the former president of Coca-Cola, called The Ten Commandments of Business Failure in tomorrow’s FT.
Here are the first few paragraphs of the review: Read more