business news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Wall Street Journal reports that even though beef alternative company Beyond Meat has been generating a lot of enthusiasm in supermarket aisles, fast food restaurants and the stock market, it still has just two percent of the meat alternative market. Which means that there is a lot of upside in bigger companies with meat alternative ambitions, such as Kellogg and Conagra Brands.

The Journal writes that “it is true that many consumers, even if they aren’t strict vegetarians, want to eat less meat. As for so many diet questions these days, the science isn’t settled, but many believe that reducing meat consumption brings substantial health benefits. As for the environment, there is little doubt that less meat is better … The rise of these so-called ‘lessetarians’ - those simply interested in cutting back - is a big business opportunity.”

CNN reports that Coca-Cola has been testing a new product in international markets
called Coca-Cola Plus Coffee or Coca-Cola With Coffee - that actually has more caffeine than its traditional cola products.

Except that it is not entirely a new product - in 2006, the company introduced Coca-Cola Blak, a coffee-flavored cola, but it flopped. However, Nancy Quan, Coke’s chief technical officer, argues that it may just have been ahead of its time.

No date has yet been set to bring coffee-infused Coke to the US, but the company says it is optimistic about its potential.

• The National Retail Federation (NRF) is out with a survey saying that “Americans are expected to spend more than ever on gifts for Father’s Day this year … Total spending for the holiday is estimated to reach $16 billion, up from last year’s $15.3 billion … Father’s Day spending has grown 70 percent, approximately $6.6 billion, since 2009. The biggest drivers of Father’s Day spending are growth in spending by consumers ages 35-44, and spending on clothing, special outings and gift cards. This year, 75.9 percent of people plan to celebrate and are expected to spend a record $138.97, up from last year’s $132.82, and up from $91 in 2009.”
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