business news in context, analysis with attitude

...with brief, italicized and occasionally gratuitous commentary...

Reuters reports a new study by Beverage Digest reveals that “US carbonated soft drink consumption fell faster last year as strength in energy drinks failed to offset weakness in traditional sodas from Coca-Cola Co and PepsiCo Inc.

The story goes on: “Total sales volume of soda fell about 1 percent in 2011 to 9.27 billion cases, according to Beverage Digest, about the same level it was in 1996. Sales volume fell 0.5 percent in 2010. Excluding energy drinks such as Red Bull and Rockstar, soda volume was down 1.5 percent last year, Beverage Digest said.”

Crain’s Chicago Business reports that Kraft Foods Inc. plans to name its global snack-company spinoff Mondelez International Inc., and will “make the change when it separates the international snack business from its North American grocery business before the end of the year.”

According to the story, “The name, pronounced ‘mohn-dah-leez,’ is a mash-up of terms to convey the idea of a ‘delicious world,’ the company announced. ‘Monde’ evokes the Latin word for ‘world’ and ‘delez’ conveys ‘delicious’.”

Maybe it is just me, but somehow “Mondelez” does not role trippingly off the tongue. Most people are not going to know how to pronounce it. And with all due respect to my friends at Kraft, I just have a feeling that this is not a name with legs.

• The Seattle Times reports that Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said yesterday at the company’s annual meeting by saying that the company’s successes are tied to its social conscience. "We are heading into a crucible; we're in the midst of something that's really going to test the conscience of the country," he said. "It's a test we will not pass by being bystanders."

As the story notes, “Starbucks has helped fund — and encouraged customers to contribute to — a jobs program that makes loans to small businesses, community centers and others.” And Schultz has been highly visible in encouraging corporations and individuals to cease giving money to politicians until they stop their ideological posturing and start governing.

The company also announced yesterday, the Los Angeles Times reports that it “will expand into the rapidly expanding energy drink industry with a line of so-called ‘Refreshers’ beverages in flavors such as raspberry pomegranate and orange melon. Made with fruit juice infused with the extract of green, unroasted coffee, the 12-fluid-ounce, 60-calorie drinks are already being sold at some grocery locations.”

• Whole Foods yesterday said that it is “taking its annual Do Something Reel Film Festival online this year. The film festival is an ongoing collection of provocative films about food and environmental issues that can be purchased online at and streamed for a limited time.

“Beginning in April, Whole Foods Market will stream a different film each month with proceeds helping to fund the 2012 Whole Foods Market/AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs Festival filmmaker grants.”
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