November 17, 2013

The information that appears on food packaging is under more scrutiny than ever as many people carefully count their calories and regulators research companies’ health claims. However, there’s one line on nearly every item of food that bamboozles both consumers and producers alike: the “sell by” date. Or should we say the “use by” date? Whatever name it goes by on a particular package of food, misunderstanding of its meaning causes Americans to toss out more than 40 percent of Continue reading

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November 13, 2013

As Americans become more health conscious, food companies have had to come up with increasingly creative ways to keep people snacking. In fact, just last month we featured an article in the newsletter about how smaller packaging can lead people to eat more than they normally would. But for a growing number of consumers, fatty snacks like candy and potato chips are to be avoided no matter how they’re packaged. That’s why a number of niche brands have popped up Continue reading

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October 30, 2013

Though it might not seem like it to the casual snacker, packaging plays a big part in the way we eat. Food companies spend a fortune studying the psychology behind our eating habits in order to discover the most effective pathways into America’s stomachs. Surprisingly, they’ve found out that perhaps the best way to keep customers snacking is through resealable packages rather than individually wrapped ones. For example, research conducted by Hershey showed that individual wrappers on items like candy Continue reading

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October 15, 2013

Wal-Mart became the world’s largest retailer by keeping margins low on everything, including employee compensation. For the Florida-based grocer Publix, however, keeping staff motivated through strong financial incentives is a recipe for success rather than instability. Publix’s net margins of 5.6 percent trounce Wal-Mart’s 3.8 percent, making it the most profitable grocery chain in the nation. With $27.5 billion in sales, it’s also the largest employee-owned company in America. Staffers control 80 percent of the company thanks to a policy Continue reading

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September 1, 2013

Mom and pop vendors at many of the nation’s leading state fairs are having trouble competing with new corporate competition.

http://on.wsj.com/1dks49v

Questions:

  1. What major challenge have small State Fair venders faced in recent years?
  1. What additional challenges do small food venders at State Fairs face?

 

From The Wall Street Journal

 

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July 15, 2013

Throughout Pepsico’s history, one thing has remained constant: the company’s flagship soft drink has always played second fiddle to chief competitor Coca-Cola. Known by name by billions throughout the world, Coke is not only the gold standard of soft drinks, but of branding in general. Although Pepsi and its umbrella of products certainly command a fair market share, Coca-Cola’s continued worldwide dominance is all but assured at this point.

Except in Russia, that is. Pepsi was one of the first Continue reading

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February 15, 2013

This video about Welch’s beginnings serves as a companion to an abstract in this month’s Newsletter about cooperative corporations.

Questions:

  1. What major advantages does Welch’s provide to their grape growers?
  1. Have other products shifted from their original purpose and found success?

From CNN Money

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February 10, 2013

When it comes to running a business, you can never know too much. That’s why many national chains are sending potential franchisees to school before they get the keys to a store. Although classroom lectures figure in to many of these programs, the main goal is to educate the franchisee-to-be on as many aspects of the business as possible. This can include everything from working the grill and mopping floors to employee management and media relations.

At Culvers, for instance, Continue reading

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February 5, 2013

Although franchising has many benefits, it doesn’t provide much freedom to the franchisees. After all, their primary job is to maintain the brand’s image, which just so happens to be whatever their corporate bosses say it is. They can also fall victim to larger trends that have affected their parent company. For instance, an entrepreneur named Jerry Merrill lost his Baskin-Robbins franchise in 1999, along with 600 other franchisees the company could not afford to keep. Merrill and 34 other Continue reading

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