September 4, 2018

A couple of months ago, we took a look at Starbucks’ plan to eliminate its use of plastic straws by 2020. While the coffee chain remains the most high-profile business to ban straws, several cities throughout the country have joined the effort by passing legislation regulating their use. For instance, last month San Francisco passed an ordinance that prohibits restaurants from distributing any single-use plastic utensils or accessories. The cities of Seattle, Malibu, and Vancouver have recently put similar laws Continue reading

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August 31, 2018

Although many American advertisements suggest that Florida remains the orange juice capital of the world, the video below shows how that’s not quite the case. Due to the state’s extreme weather and a number of other factors, the South American nation of Brazil has long stood as the globe’s top producer of OJ.

Questions:

  1. Why has the size of Florida’s orange crop fallen so much in recent years?
  2. What are the benefits and drawbacks of Brazil’s dominance of the orange industry?
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August 17, 2018

If you’ve ever wondered whether it’s safe to eat eggs that have gone past their “sell-by date,” you are certainly not alone. This video looks at the confusing dates that companies place on food packaging and how they encourage consumers to throw out items that are still edible.

Questions:

  1. Why do companies place sell-by dates on food packaging?
  2. What can companies do to make food date labels more straightforward for consumers?
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August 3, 2018

A few months ago, we looked at why our subject for the Chapter 8 profile in Understanding Business was leaving her position as CEO of the Campbell Soup Company. As the video below shows, however, Campbell’s problems began long before Denise Morrison took the top job.

Questions:

  1. Why has Campbell’s struggled to grow steadily in recent years?
  2. What do you think Campbell’s should do to start winning over young consumers who don’t like canned soup?
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August 2, 2018

If you’ve never heard of poke (pronounced poe-kay) before, then you’re certainly not alone. This Hawaiian dish consisting of marinated sushi served over rice has been popular with eaters in the 50th state since the 1970s. For many people on the U.S. mainland, however, this meal remained a mystery until a few years ago when poke joints began to pop up along the east and west coasts. It has since grown into a nationwide trend: according to Foursquare more than Continue reading

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July 31, 2018

Although people sometimes use “vanilla” as a byword for “boring,” the complicated global industry that surrounds this flavor is far from dull. 80 percent of the world’s vanilla crop is grown in Madagascar, which has the perfect climate for vanilla orchids. These plants only bloom one day a year and must be pollinated by hand, followed by another 9 months of waiting for the fruit to mature into pods. Then comes another weeks-long process of curing the plants using steam, Continue reading

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July 27, 2018

From smartphones to electric vehicles, many of today’s most innovative products depend on lithium-ion batteries to function. That’s why every year the tech industry upgrades these portable power sources to hold more and more charge. While this allows them to create better products (at least in theory), it also leads companies to discard a lot of technically obsolete batteries that can still collect energy. For instance, the lithium-ion units that power cars and buses can be used for Continue reading

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July 26, 2018

For the past few years, a number of technology companies have championed self-driving cars as the future of transportation. But recently the concept has received some bad press thanks to a string of accidents involving autonomous vehicles. For instance, last month a Waymo test car made headlines when it ended up in a five-car crash. Meanwhile, several Tesla vehicles in “driver-assist” mode have been involved in collisions, including one fatal incident. As a result, consumers are becoming more wary about Continue reading

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July 17, 2018

Amazon’s Prime Day has a bit of a misleading name: the e-commerce site’s annual offering of deals actually lasts 36 hours, starting yesterday afternoon and going until midnight tonight. One matter that isn’t up for debate, however, is the promotion’s ability to bring in a lot of money. Analysts expect that this year’s Prime Day will generate about $3.4 billion in sales for Amazon, which would beat 2017’s total by more than $1 billion. But despite this upcoming windfall, so Continue reading

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July 10, 2018

The 2018 FIFA World Cup hits the home stretch this week, with the semifinals taking place today and tomorrow followed by the final match on Sunday. While the end of this month-long festival of soccer will be bittersweet for many fans, few people will be sadder to see it go than the people who run the Italian publishing house Panini. The company specializes in making stickers that feature every player in the tournament along with a free booklet to place Continue reading

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