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In today's fast-paced society, people are constantly on-the-go. As a result, more people are choosing the alternative form of dining, food delivered straight to their doorsteps. It dramatically lessens meal-prepping time without sacrificing food quality. Imagine having the option of anything within your city delivered to you within thirty minutes, who would turn that down?  More apps are surfacing in order to meet the demand for better and faster food delivery services.

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The cacao seed, which is used for the production of cocoa butter, cocoa powder, and chocolate, has seen several spikes in its supply over the past five years due to climate change, insects, and fungal infections. Paired with fluctuations in demand, the market has experienced a volatile commodity price for several years. Forecasts in 2014 predicted that the demand for cacao would outweigh its supply by 2020 and cause a global shortage. However, estimates have become even bleaker as scientists now predict that cacao may become extinct by 2050, as the main countries that produce the world’s supply of cacao will become unsuitable for cultivation due to climate change and deforestation. Even though this prognosis is still over 30 years away, is important now more than ever for countries and companies all around the world to increase their efforts to clean up the cocoa supply chain for a more sustainable future.

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What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about beer? For some people, the answer might be a brand from their country’s long list of fan favorites such as Budweiser, Bud Light, Corona Extra, Miller Light, Coors Light, Heineken, or Guinness. What do these best-selling brands have in common? They are owned by some of the world’s largest brewing companies, and more specifically the “Big Five” breweries of AB InBev/SAB Miller with headquarters in Belgium and the United Kingdom, Molson Coors (United States), Heineken International (Netherlands), Diageo (United Kingdom), and Carlsberg Group (Denmark). However, others may answer the same question with the name of a brand that was produced by one of over 10,000 craft breweries around the world. The competition between craft beer and big beer companies has been heating up for years, and the tension is not expected to simmer anytime soon.

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2017 was a busy year for the food industry with many mergers and acquisitions taking place, and this is expected to continue into 2018.  According to the Food Institute data, 587 companies completed mergers and acquisitions last year.  This is a considerable increase from the 505 mergers and acquisitions from 2016 and the 410 from 2015.  In the United States, the food industry completed deals worth a total of $42 billion throughout 2017, up from the $27.1 billion in deals from 2016.  Mergers and acquisitions have been taking place in all sectors of the food and beverage industry, with the largest being the sale of Whole Foods to Amazon for $13.7 billion.  Along with Amazon, other large companies have also been expanding into the food distribution industry, including Walmart and Target.  Other examples of recent mergers and acquisitions include the sale of Snyder’s Lance Inc. to Campbell Soup and the sale of Nestlé’s US confectionary business to Ferrero.

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As Halloween week winds down, consumers across the nation will begin the process of slowly making a dent in a pile of over 600 million pounds of one of the world’s most coveted treats—candy.  Candy—also called confectionery and comprised of chocolate, sugar, and gum products—has been one of the most popular goods on the globe since 1894, with worldwide confectionery sales anticipated to increase 3.2 percent by 2022 and valued at 85.5 billion dollars in 2016.

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#BeurreGate, which translates to “Butter Gate”, has been trending across France as consumers are finding the butter shelves at their local supermarkets empty. Many of these social media posts have been satirical in nature including false advertisements with absurd prices and even a short film, which depicts a post-apocalyptic France that has descended into anarchy without access to the national staple. While the true situation is not nearly as dire, French consumers are finding it increasingly difficult to purchase butter at their local supermarket.

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Research in climate change suggests that even an incremental increase in average global temperatures can trigger disastrous effects around the world. Although efforts are being made to curb carbon dioxide emissions and sustain stable environments, climate scientists warn that “there will still be consequences" if more drastic actions are not taken. Global businesses that depend on vast energy usage are now paying attention to new corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives.

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Due to unsuccessful harvests and rises in demand, avocado prices are predicted to double this summer. This delicious green fruit has grown in popularity over the past few years because of the nutrients and vitamins it contains, “making it a favorite for fitness gurus and the health conscious,” according to The Independent. However, due to high demand, prices have climbed significantly.

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On March 1, over 1.5 million shopkeepers in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu started a mass boycott of Coca-Cola and Pepsi products, pulling the beverages off their shelves and replacing them with domestic soft drink brands. All of the involved vendors are members of the Tamil Nadu Traders Association, a retailers organization that directed the boycott toward United States-based soft drink brands. The Association cited two primary reasons for the boycott: PepsiCo and The Coca-Cola Company's exorbitant use of the area's groundwater, and the continued "meddling" by American organizations in Indian traditions.

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When more Unites States airlines began to hold direct commercial flights to Cuba, many began to hope that increased tourism would bring more money into Cuba. However, the shortage of basic goods has not improved as tourism increased in the country, as the citizens are now competing with tourists for the scarce food available.

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Earlier this month, the FDA announced it will be reevaluating it's term "healthy", and therefore altering which foods will be considered healthful. As ideas of healthy eating change, FDA regulations should be changing as well. The current regulations reflect more of the simplistic beliefs from the 1980's and 90's, when low fat content and high levels of carbohydrates were seen as healthful. Today, those ideas have changed. This adjustment in regulations will not only affect labeling, but also will affect company products and their overall profit.

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After multiple offers, Anhesuer-Busch (AB) InBev has reached a $106 billion takeover deal with SABMiller. AB InBev, owner of Budweiser, Stella Artois, and Corona, will now become the controlling player in the international beer market after the purchase of SABMiller, owner of Miller Lite, Peroni, and Fosters. As a result of the merger, the newly created company will hold about 30% of the global beer market share. The $106 billion deal is atop the record charts for beer acquisitions and is one of the highest-dollar corporate takeovers in history. AB InBev and SABMiller’s combination sets the stage for many shifts in the international beer market.

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It takes much more than a simple name change to integrate an existing product into foreign markets. Many established companies are attempting to expand their global presence by moving into new foreign markets, specifically emerging markets, but are finding it a much more arduous process than they initially anticipated.

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After nearly 16 years, European beef will once again be making the trip across the Atlantic to American stores and restaurants. Ireland and its beef industry have become the first from Europe to be granted permission into the United States market, following over a decade long ban on beef from Europe. The ban resulted from the mad cow disease outbreak in the 1990s, and fears that it could begin an epidemic in the United States. The lifting of the ban could be a big help to Irish farmers, as well as the possible reopening of the United States market to all European cattle farmers.

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In 2013, global meat production reached its highest level at 308.5 million tons, a 1.4% increase from the prior year. Due to a number of factors such as growing purchasing power, urbanization, and changing diets, the WorldWatch Report has determined that meat production has increased more than fourfold since 1961. The report was accompanied by a press release titled “Peak Meat Production Strains Land and Water Resources”, which additionally stated that meat production has increased 25-fold in the last two centuries. Although this has positive side effects for those working in the meat industry, the implications for the environment could be detrimental.

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There are many widely known benefits to exhibiting at a tradeshow. You are able to market your product, network and, ideally, generate new business for your company. Unfortunately, however, tradeshows are notorious for being costly. As Forbes contributor, Brent Gleeson, put it, “planning and goal setting is critical to generating a positive ROI from your tradeshow investment." Food Export – Midwest’s Food Show PLUS! program helps companies to do just that. Through its various services, Food Show PLUS! ensures that major international tradeshows are utilized to their full potential by assisting companies in the areas of research, preparation and translation. It is also possible for companies to apply for the Branded Program which offers up to a 50% reimbursement for several expenses related to exhibiting at international tradeshows. If you are considering introducing your products to foreign markets, Food Show PLUS! can give you the tools you need to find success.

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Organic food is increasingly becoming an active topic in international trade due to the increase in people’s living standards worldwide, improved transportation, and urbanization. In developing countries, we see that people consume more organic food now as a result of higher income, and this increases the national demand of meat products, which leads to a large inflow of live-stock feed to developing countries. However, in developed countries, organic food is not necessarily associated with high income populations, but rather with people with diversified diets who wish to eat naturally developed food.

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In what is deemed the last continent for major growth in the fast food industry, several chains are finding that expansion into Africa is going to be tougher than what was once expected. Infrastructure costs, food imports, and meat shortages have led to high prices at many quick serve restaurants across Africa. This has lowered optimism among some fast food executives about the prospects of expansion into the vast African continent, though there are others who believe now is the time for growth, even with the early setbacks.

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Earlier this week, my colleague Kyle Brown asked the question “Isolated Issue or Global Supply Chain Problem?”  This question was addressing the recent uncovering that many of the products we believe to be 100% beef, actually contain a fair amount of horse meat.  It would seem that this question has been answered relatively quickly with a new Oceana report released yesterday. Oceana is an advocacy group for the world’s oceans that has sampled over 600 outlets in 20 states over a two year period in one of the most comprehensive food and health studies done in recent years.

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We were always taught not to judge a book by its cover, but packaging experts know that building a positive connotation and allure around a good is crucial to its marketability.  Companies take many factors into consideration when packaging their product: environmentally responsible, flawless presentation, exceptional quality/quantity, and cultural sensitivities.  Balancing the variables of material, size, imagery, color, and design is the challenge facing most firms.  And they only amplify as companies expand to the global marketplace.

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In 1983, Professor Theodore "Ted" Levitt of Harvard's Business School announced that globalization had arrived, and before long global companies would be selling products and services in similar ways all over the world. In spite of Levitt's prediction, only a limited amount of truly global brands exist in today's business world, although markets are undeniably in an age of economic globalization. The reason behind this stems from the immense amount of forces that provide challenges to brands wishing to branch into global markets, of which a select number of firms have overcome.

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The food and beverage industry covers an assortment of products and companies within.  It happens to include one of the largest commodity markets, coffee.  With its distinctive socio-cultural ties, coffee has been produced, branded, and marketed uniquely in every part of the world.  With any product, various factors must be taken into consideration when developing a brand: consumption patterns, cultural relevance, product expectation, and marketplace competition to name a few.  Branding essentially tries to build an emotional kinship with the consumer that transcends the products actual function.  Brands aspire to create an identity, a lifestyle to live by.

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As global food prices continue to rise, rice is no exception. In Thailand, extreme rain and government regulation are also expected to contribute to a sudden hike in rice prices.

Thailand has around 8 million rice farmers, and currently accounts for about 30 percent of global rice exports. However, the Thai government is stepping in to increase local prices, so that share is likely to drop. The Thai government hopes the increase in prices will benefit local struggling farmers increase their income. Unfortunately, the increase in prices also means that Thailand rice exports will be less competitive internationally. Some say that other countries, such as India and Vietnam, will be able to make up for what Thailand does not export but global price increases are still likely. With other countries becoming larger international players in the rice market the Thai government may end up rethinking its rice pricing policy.

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How do restaurants keep customers coming back and attracting new ones? All of us become critics when we try something new. From the outside look of the restaurant to the choice of napkins, every little detail factors into the way customers rate it. The atmosphere and decorations are some of the main essentials; however, the most important factor that makes a dining experience memorable is the skill of the chef.

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How many times were you told as a child that chocolate was not good for you? Hundreds?

Well now you can call your mom up and in a sweet, loving way let her know she may have been wrong. Not only is cocoa helping roughly 50 million people make a living, but new discoveries that cocoa may have cardiovascular health benefits is helping increase the demand for this little black bean.

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We all need vegetables in our diets, but many people also base their entire business off of these healthy foods. Research from the University of Massachusetts shows that the United States vegetable industry is beginning to be heavily influenced by other regions. This is good news for farmers all over the world. Supermarkets and restaurants are looking to expand their markets by offering more exotic options. Areas like Africa, Asia and Latin America produce several exotic vegetables that the United States has started to take interest in. This could help smaller countries who are heavily dependant on agriculture and are looking to increase their exports.

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After the devastating earthquake in Haiti this January, a global effort has been made to rebuild the country. The hospitality that was shown to the hurting country has been inspiring. Haiti is certainly still working to rebuild its country, but luckily people around the world are seeking to help create a better economy for this small country.

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One of the major trends around the world right now is creating healthy products. Recently the world’s favorite morning beverage is doing just that! Coffee is consumed all over the world by all different types of people, so it has amazing potential for business.

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While Vietnam’s largest export is textiles, seafood is often overlooked as another crucial product to Vietnam’s economic well-being. In June 2009, Vietnam and Japan signed the Vietnam-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement, which effectively reduced and eliminated tariffs on a number of Vietnamese goods, one of which was dried seafood. In the past, high prices had deterred other Southeast Asian countries from buying Vietnamese seafood, but the tariff cuts, coupled with overall increased demands, have led to a boom in Vietnamese seafood exports.

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McDonald’s Corporation is now starting Hamburger University in Shanghai as a place to train the latest generation of managers.  This decision is influenced by the fact that China is McDonald’s fastest-growing global market, increasing 10 percent annually. Part of this growth is because collectively, Chinese spend nearly 300 billion dollars a year on eating out at informal restaurants.

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Do you want to go out to eat? People around the world are saying “yes” to this answer, but are finding different venues to satisfy their hunger. In fact, you might be surprised to hear that 20% of the world’s food venues are street vendors! Did you know that of the 10 largest markets in the world in the food services industry, five are in East Asia? The industry is making some major shifts which are also specific to geographic location.

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As the world is becoming more globalized, there has been a change towards internationalization in the food and beverage industry as well.
 
Traveling abroad for business is an essential part for many professionals. Also, since business men and women from different parts of the world work together on many occasions, it is only natural that they share and spread different cultures. This is very strongly pronounced in the way taste preferences around the globe have changed.

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Would you like to spend four fun-filled days tasting mouthwatering foods and sipping on delightful drinks in Birmingham, United Kingdom? For many Food and Beverage industry lovers, I’m hearing screams of “Yes!” Since much of the world is experiencing long months of wintery weather right now, the Food and Drink Expo 2010 from March 21st through 24th may be just the pick-me-up you need.

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When choosing a major, one that most students do not consider is ice cream making. However, in Italy it is a field of study that has seen an increase in enrollment.

There is one university located close to Carpigiani that is dedicated to instructing in gelato making. Since the economic downturn has started it has seen an 89% increase in enrollment. Many executives who have been laid off from all over the world have been looking into switching their career to ice cream making and opening their own gelaterie in their home countries.

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It is finally here! China recently opened a chocolate theme park in Beijing. It contains five indoor pavilions with controlled temperature so that the chocolate does not melt as well as two outdoor sites. They offer displays of various chocolate made objects such as replicas of the Terracotta Army, the Great Wall, famous paintings, and other items such as shoes or sports equipment, and a full size BMW. Tina Cheng, who will be operating the park, said that visitors will be offered a full chocolate experience - they will be able to see, touch, taste, and purchase the different chocolate items. 

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Heineken has just announced that it will be buying the beer operations of Femsa, a large beverage company in Mexico. The beer industry has experienced several acquisitions this past decade, so this move was not exactly a surprise. Many brewing companies have done this to tap into different markets across the world.

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A recent report conducted by Community Food Enterprise, backed up by a number of case studies, highlights the importance that local businesses in the Food and Beverage Industry play in economic development. The report focuses on twenty-four food ventures from around the world, such as an organic farming co-op, as well as a caterer in Zambia. All of the enterprises examined in the report aim to become sustainable business models which are not dependent on government aid.

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Companies all over the world are feeling the pressure to make more efficient products and packaging. With the media picking up any story about ‘greener’ products, it also gives incentive for some free, very positive, publicity. Unfortunately this sounds much simpler than it actually is. Many companies have been working at this for years. Luckily, there has been some amazing progress.

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The Food and Beverage Industry is undergoing significant trend shifts, one of which is a move towards more environmentally-friendly packaging. Many customers are demanding less material waste in the supply chain area of the industry. Complicating matters in the international spectrum is the fact that every country has different regulations regarding what's acceptable and what isn't. The key, then, is to find forms of packaging which comply with more of these regulations and can ultimately make the supply chain aspect of the Food and Beverage Industry more streamlined. That’s where polyactic acid (PLA) comes into play.

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Some people say Wal-Mart, others say Carrefour, but Iran is saying Hyperstar. Hyperstar, found in western Tehran, is Iran’s first large U.S.-style supermarket, financed by a businessman from the United Arab Emirates. It is becoming incredibly successful with an average of 15,000 customers a day! Shoppers consist of mainly middle-class residents who show an increasing interest in shopping and traveling.

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The European Commission recently funded a five year project that was completed during fall 2009 - the ENSEMBLES project. Its purpose was to develop a prediction system to provide relevant information on climate change and its interactions with society. According to a report submitted by the scientists who worked on the project, France, Italy, and Spain are some of the countries that will most likely experience great changes by the end of the century due to climate changes.

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Generally, when something is put to a vote, the most popular vote wins. This is not the case for the Kraft Foods Australia product, Cheesybite. If you don’t know what Cheesybite is, it is a jar of caramel-brown, salty, gooey yeast paste (also known as Vegemite, an immensely popular Austrailian spread), that is mixed with cream cheese. Sounds appetizing, huh? Well to many Australians, it is. In a recent New York Times article, Bill Granger, a well known Sydney chef, said that Vegemite is “One of the only foods that is unique to Australia, and people see it as being quintessentially Australian.”

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In October of 2008, Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum formally established Al Nassma - a chocolate producing company. It is not just another chocolate brand however. What distinguishes it from other brands is the fact that Al Nassma chocolate is made with camels' milk and is the first of its kind.

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Now-a-days, Starbucks isn’t the only place you can go to grab a cup of joe. McDonald’s McCafés can now be found all over the globe offering a multitude of delicious, caffeinated beverages. This coffee chain was created in Melbourne, Australia in 1993. Ten years later, in 2003, it grew to be the largest coffee shop brand not only in Australia, but in New Zealand too!

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Many people across the globe wake up every morning and require coffee within minutes to function during the day. The caffeine gives a kick-start to the long day at the office, in class, or wherever you may be. However, imagine waking up to a tea that can give you more than half the caffeinated zap of coffee plus tons of antioxidants and fewer jitters. I’m not asking you to totally end things with your old love, but simply, see other… beverages?

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Poultry has been traded globally for years. Each individual country can not possibly produce everything it needs, making this trade a necessity. Of course, that does not mean that there hasn't been any problems. There are several past examples of poultry trade gone wrong, but as a result standards are higher, making trading less of a risk.

In 2004, China and the United States had a major rift in their chicken trades and there has been tension ever since. The initial problems were a result of the bird flu outbreaks. Following that, both countries temporarily banned the trade of poultry from one another. Soon after, China lifted their ban, but it was another two years before the U.S. followed suit. Around the same time, Thailand chicken exports were suffering because several countries refused to buy their chicken because of past outbreaks, even after the products have been inspected and deemed safe. It seems that there will always be tension over poultry trade.

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The current recession has impacted almost every sector of the economy, and hamburgers are no exception. In an environment where top quality matched with most appealing prices is the key to success, many restaurants are re-thinking their menus by including and re-imagining what the burger should be. Therefore, top chefs around the world are viewing the burger as the latest test of their culinary skills and ingenuity. Also, in some restaurants, the quality of their burger is what decides the ultimate fate of the restaurant, especially in these uncertain times.

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Some of the largest and most popular beverage companies in the world have been making some changes in the hope that they will help bring sales up.

PepsiCo announced its plans to invest $1 billion more in Russia over the next three years. This decision is supposed to increase Pepsi's influence in the food and beverage market in Russia and is also part of a plan to expand in emerging markets. Furthermore, the investment in Russia is funding various programs to expand manufacturing and distribution capacity such as opening new beverage facilities and snacks manufacturing plants.

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You may be surprised to learn that Brazil produced half of the world's coffee at one point. Although the nation doesn't enjoy this kind of pick-me-up dominance anymore, they still are the key player in the global market, and produce one-third of world's coffee beans. Despite the shear quantity of coffee coming out of Brazil, most consumers are more familiar with  Columbian beans, and Asian and African beans seem to be gaining in popularity. It's said that because of Brazil's large-scale production, the quality suffers. Poor quality controls and an economic crisis in the 80's and 90's led to less local consumption in Brazil. Their best beans were exported while they had the leftovers. I can see why coffee didn't appeal very much to Brazilians. In response to this unfavorable trend, the Brazilian Association of the Coffee Industry initiated a "coffee purity" program that was so succesful that it was expanded to 60 countries. That led to a more than doubling of sales in Brazil. Brazilians now consume more than any other nation with the exception of the United States.

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For decades, Coca-Cola’s main competitor has been Pepsi. However, in recent years Coca-Cola has faced increasing competition from non-carbonated drinks such as tea, coffee, and fruit juices. This has been especially true in Japan. In response to this growing trend, Coca-Cola has developed a new product – green tea-flavored Coke. The product targets mainly health concious women in their 20s and 30s. In response to this product, Pepsi is planning on launching basil-flvaored Pepsi. As of right now these new products are going to be sold in Japan only, however if Coca-Cola’s new bevarage is met well by customers, it will be marketed in other countries such as the United States and countries in Western Europe.

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If you think the financial crisis is throwing a wrench into your business plan, try running a distillery in Nepal. This article by Forbes tells the story of the Himalayan Distillery Group Ltd., or HDL, and their struggle to run a profitable business in the face of corruption, power outages, and kidnappings.

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Just as the housing and stock bubbles burst, it appears that wine’s bubble may be figuratively bursting as well. In Bordeaux, France, numerous wine tasters and connoisseurs gathered this week to sample and possibly purchase many of the vintage versions of 2008’s premiere wines. However, amidst a global recession, many of the big spenders who splurged on such delights have sobered up a bit. The result is an uncertain future for the wine market, as well as other aspects of the food and beverage industry.

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I had almost given up on news that isn’t somehow related to “credit crunch” or “bailout,” until I stumbled upon a thought provoking topic in a recent issue of The Economist: "The world has a water shortage, not a food shortage."

My immediate reaction was: "WHAT?" But the numbers seem to make sense – while people only drink about 2 liters of water a day, almost 3,000 liters of water goes into the food people eat every day (add a few more liters for the meat that takes far more water to produce). The article focuses particularly on the inefficient use of water by farmers based on today’s methods of agriculture. In fact, the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) predicts that as population grows and incomes rise, 2,000 cubic kilometers of additional water will be needed each year to keep everyone fed!

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Animal friendly products or the new thing on the market? Salads that are on a blue table or salads on a red table? Loaf of bread or sliced up bread? Cheese slices wrapped in plastic or not?

Dutch lab researchers try to figure out what people eat and how to influence their habits. They study the influences on eating in order to be able to find ways to make products more appealing and to direct consumers to healthier choices.

The $4.5 million Restaurant of the Future is run by scientists of Wageningen University and Research Center, working with Sodexo, an international catering firm, and the Noldus software company, to answer questions from the food industry and behaviorists.