business news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Wall Street Journal this morning reports that PepsiCo is reducing the amount of plastic used in its water bottles by 20 percent, “the latest step by a beverage company to portray itself as environmentally conscious as sales of bottled water slip.”

The slippage isn’t small. After years of double-digit growth, bottled water sales were down 0.4 percent last year, the Journal notes, and there are some projections that it will remain stagnant – at the very least – for the next five years.

USA Today this morning reports that milk prices are down about 50 percent from last summer, and dairy producers are “taking an enormous hit,” with “the number of dairy cows being sent to slaughter has risen by about 20% from last year, as desperate farmers cull their herds and sell at fire-sale prices. Adding to the problem, banks are less willing or able to extend farmers' loan payments amid the financial turmoil.”

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