April 21, 2022

Before the pandemic, enormous shipping vessels bound for the West Coast of the U.S. from Asia usually took the same predictable and profitable voyages. After docking in either the port of Los Angeles or Long Beach, the ships would unload their cargo and then head up north to Oakland, where they stocked up on agricultural goods from California’s expansive farmland. This cargo would ultimately end up in markets around the world after journeying across the Pacific and disembarking in Southeast Continue reading

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April 19, 2022

As companies continue to face climbing costs, many businesses are responding by either raising prices themselves or reducing the size of their product offerings. But there’s at least one company who hasn’t surrendered to the effects of inflation: 23-ounce cans of AriZona iced tea remain 99 cents, the same price as when they hit the market 30 years ago. So is AriZona somehow immune to recent price increases? Not in the least, considering that the cost of aluminum has Continue reading

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April 15, 2022

As businesses across the globe contend with rising inflation, many companies are cutting costs by reducing the size of consumer goods and hoping buyers don’t notice. This video looks at this growing trend of “shrinkflation” and the risks that companies take when they downsize snacks. 

Questions:

  1. Why are many companies responding to rising costs with “shrinkflation?” 
  2. What risks do companies take when they alter the packaging or size of consumer goods like snacks?
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April 12, 2022

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in March 2022 consumer prices rose by 8.5 percent compared to the same period last year, amounting to the largest increase since 1981. Not only must businesses contend with pandemic-related supply chain issues that have persisted for well over a year, but also Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to spiking fuel and food costs. As a result, inflation continues to rise alongside prices for essential goods like housing, groceries, and gasoline. Continue reading

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April 5, 2022

After the invasion of Ukraine last month, thousands of companies around the world either ceased operations in Russia or started divesting from the aggressor nation. This corporate response to the invasion followed a string of sanctions by governments around the world who intended to deal an economic blow to Russia. But cutting financial ties with the country has also led to some unexpected ripple effects on small businesses as well as multinational companies who must adjust to this complicated situation. Continue reading

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March 31, 2022

Sales of houseplants skyrocketed during the onset of the pandemic, and ever since growers around the world have struggled to keep up with ever-increasing demand. Not only are they reaching production capacity, but growers are also in a race against time to get their plants to market before they die on store shelves. This video takes a detailed look at the advanced growing techniques used on modern houseplant farms as well as the flood of TikTok-driven demand that growers must Continue reading

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March 25, 2022

Anyone who’s had to fill up their car lately knows how the cost of gas has shot through the roof in recent weeks. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the average price per gallon increased to $4.24 on Monday, the highest rate in more than four decades. Although the inflation-adjusted price does not quite reach the heights of the 1970s energy crisis, consumers must nevertheless deal with the largest month-to-month gas price increases on record. 

Some parts Continue reading

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March 15, 2022

The Swedish company Oatly began making oat milk in the early 1990s and steadily grew a dedicated following among health conscious European consumers. But the beverage really took off in the late 2010s when Americans got in on the craze, sending Oatly’s sales soaring and attracting interest from high-level investors. To enable the brand to grab market share while it was available, Oatly received major investments from companies like Blackstone Group as well as celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Jay-Z. Continue reading

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February 18, 2022

Chowing down on a big bowl of crickets probably doesn’t sound very appetizing, does it? According to a range of experts interviewed in the video below, though, our disgust at the thought of eating insects might just be a matter of perception. This extensive report from the New York Times shows how lobsters went from disgusting to delicious in the eyes of American eaters, a branding journey that bugs might also take in the near future.

Questions:

  1. What are some Continue reading
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February 8, 2022

With Super Bowl LVI less than a week away, football fans around the country are stocking up on snacks and drinks for Sunday’s big game. In fact, each year Americans eat more than 112 million pounds of snacks during the Super Bowl, with the most popular items being potato chips, pretzels, and tortilla chips. Although these items will be available and affordable as ever this year, economists at Wells Fargo estimate that the cost of fresh items like salsa and Continue reading

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