November 11, 2022

The New York bakery Junior’s has been selling enormous cheesecakes to customers since 1950, but 2022 has probably been the toughest year for the company since its founding. Along with examining how a cream cheese shortage and skyrocketing ingredient prices have threatened Junior’s bottom line, this video also examines the company’s history and the intricate production processes for its many baked goods. 

Questions:

  1. How have rising ingredient costs affected Junior’s business? 
  2. What role does automation play at Junior’s Continue reading
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October 12, 2022

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), six out of 10 Americans suffer from chronic lifestyle-related diseases that often stem from obesity and poor diet. These illnesses are the nation’s leading drivers of death and disability, as well as the central cause behind the $4.1 trillion in annual health-care costs paid by Americans. Obesity rates climbed during the pandemic, especially among children, with studies showing that 45.7 percent of 5- to 11-year-olds are now considered overweight. Given Continue reading

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September 30, 2022

For decades, conservationists have warned drink companies about the dangers of plastic ring packaging commonly used for six-packs of cans. Once these rings find their way into the ocean, they turn into a lethal danger for birds, turtles, and other marine life who can become ensnared in the plastic. In fact, the World Wildlife Federation estimates that plastic products like these kill as many as 100,000 marine animals annually. Drink rings also contribute to the growing global problem of ocean Continue reading

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September 7, 2022

Last week, California’s legislature passed a bill that will bring sweeping changes to fast food chains operating in the state. After being signed into law by the governor on Monday, the new legislation effectively sets a minimum wage for the industry while also establishing new safety and anti-discrimination requirements. California will create a 10-person council composed of restaurant workers and employer representatives along with two state officials, who will all review pay and safety standards across the state’s restaurant industry. Continue reading

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August 31, 2022

Earlier this year, we looked at how the nationwide shortage of baby formula was poised to continue for months after Abbott Nutrition shut down a Michigan plant in February. An inspector from the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) discovered a leaking roof in the facility, pools of water on the floor, and cracks in production equipment used to produce the brand Similac. FDA commissioner Dr. Robert Califf described the conditions as “egregiously unsanitary” while acknowledging that the federal agency should Continue reading

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August 19, 2022

Since 1994, Rap Snacks has sold chips, popcorn, and even instant noodles featuring hip hop stars like Snoop Dogg, Migos, and Lil Baby on the packaging. The most recent addition to this lineup of talent is Nicki Minaj, who launched her “Barbie-Que Honey Truffle” potato chips earlier this summer. While Rap Snacks hoped this high-profile partnership would make a big splash on social media, the brand instead attracted the attention of an entirely different audience: the notoriously litigious toy company Continue reading

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June 29, 2022

Although the food conglomerate Kellogg might be best known for cereal brands like Rice Krispies and Frosted Flakes, the company also controls other big names such as Eggo waffles, Pringles, and Cheez-It. Managing such a wide portfolio of successful brands is no simple task, though, as departments must often compete with one another for attention and resources. Then there are the unique requirements for each market: for instance, cereals have different marketing and packaging needs than Kellogg’s snack brands.

Given Continue reading

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June 10, 2022

Over the last year, Americans have seen prices skyrocket for everything from food to fuel, leading to higher bills and strained budgets. This video looks at how inflation has played out across the economy, from increased costs for consumer staples like meat and eggs to rising rents that are a result of low housing supplies.

Questions:

  1. What long term economic factors have led to increased meat prices in recent months?
  2. How has a lack of housing construction since the 2008 Continue reading
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Since the beginning of the year, parents around the country have struggled to obtain baby formula due to a nationwide shortage. Although Covid-related supply chain snags have contributed to the problem, matters became considerably worse once the formula manufacturer Abbott Laboratories instituted a recall in May. The company produces brands like Similac at its plant in Sturgis, Michigan, which shut down following the recall. Consumers filed formal complaints with the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) about infant illnesses, leading to Continue reading

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Although the sunny state of Florida is famous for its acres of orange groves, the last few years have been stormy for citrus growers as they fight against a tree disease that damages their crops. This extensive video looks at how “citrus greening” brought on by an invasive insect has put many Florida growers out of business while others struggle to adapt to this new agricultural reality. 

Questions:

  1. How has citrus greening impacted the Florida orange industry?
  2. What are Continue reading
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