November 15, 2014

Thanks to tough legislation and widespread public education, the number of U.S. smokers has declined 50 percent since the habit’s heyday in the 1950s. Although this significant customer drop-off has hurt many tobacco companies, business has been booming over the last few years for the iconic lighter brand Zippo. The Bradford, PA-based company earned $200 million in sales last year, a record for the lighter maker. What’s more, Zippo’s expanded global presence and diversified product line has increased sales by Continue reading

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November 15, 2014

This video reveals some of the unpleasant origins behind the world’s most common products and highlights the importance of understanding supply chains.

 

Questions:

  1. Have big companies improved work standards in their supply chains?
  1. Should consumers be involved in making sure supply chains are managed humanely?

From We the Economy

 

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November 13, 2014

 

When it comes to innovation in business, creating a viable and valuable product is just the first step. After all, the arrival of the portable MP3 player made many companies stand up and take notice of this revolutionary device. One of those firms was Apple, who soon came to dominate the market with the iPod. Although the signature MP3 player was released later than its competitors, the product’s dependability and stylish design quickly allowed it to capture the bulk Continue reading

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November 2, 2014

Although it’s been more than six years since the start of the Great Recession, many in the restaurant industry have failed to adjust to the “new normal” created by the downturn. In fact, visits to U.S. restaurants have fallen by a staggering 1.3 billion since 2008. As American eateries become desperate for business, many have turned to gimmicky menu items to drum up interest. From Taco Bell’s Waffle Taco to the $100 “Never Ending Pasta Pass” at Olive Garden, restaurants Continue reading

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October 31, 2014

The multi-billion dollar home goods company Procter & Gamble produces hundreds of items, but the iconic business owes much of its success to just one brand. More than 135 years ago, James Norris Gamble led a team that created a vegetable oil-based soap with a distinctly white hue. The color presented the company with the perfect brand name, Ivory, while the item’s ability to float provided a unique selling point. What’s more, Gamble advertised the bar of soap as being Continue reading

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October 28, 2014

For more than 50 years, the Red Delicious has dominated the American apple market. But while no one can dispute the fruit’s famous color, many consumers have begun to take exception to the “Delicious” portion of its name. Even though the U.S. still produces 54 million bushels of Red Delicious annually, production of the fruit has dropped 40 percent since 2000 as demand for other varieties has increased.

The Red Delicious began its ascent way back in the 1870s when Continue reading

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October 26, 2014

 

With so many teenagers equipped with smartphones, it can be easy for older Americans to feel a little jealous of their younger counterparts. After all, cramming at the last minute before a big history exam is a lot easier if you can quickly double check facts on your iPhone. If the subject’s algebra or calculus, however, today’s high school kids have about the same technological edge as students did 10 years ago. That’s because the TI-84 Plus graphing calculator Continue reading

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October 8, 2014

burgAs we mention in Chapter 3 of the textbook, culinary tastes can vary wildly all over the globe. Even the largest fast food chains step out of their comfort zones in order to cater to local flavors. For instance, KFC’s menu in China includes a traditional fried duck wrap, while Japan’s Pizza Hut outlets offer squid and sweet mayonnaise as toppings. But even these items pale in comparison to the latest unusual creation presented to Japanese consumers, this time courtesy Continue reading

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September 26, 2014

 

Although summer is fading, ice cream season remains in full swing for millions of sweet-toothed Americans. Last year consumers in the U.S. bought $13.7 billion worth of the dessert, an enormous number that doesn’t even include restaurant sales. And according to a recent study, 40 percent of Americans will eat ice cream in any given two-week period. Nevertheless, on the whole people consume a lot less of the cold stuff than they did 25 years ago. Back in 1989 Continue reading

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September 6, 2014

Nobody likes to wait in line for the bathroom, but sometimes that’s just the way things are at big, busy venues like stadiums and airports. Entrepreneur Allen Klevens couldn’t accept this fact of life, however, and set out to fix it with his new product Tooshlights. These small beacons rest at the top of a bathroom stall door and glow red if the space is occupied or green if it’s free. Klevens hopes this clever stop-and-go system will drastically speed Continue reading

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