Monthly Archives: January 2018

The future of soda might be coffee

By Caitlin Dewey

Bottles of Dr Pepper soda move along a conveyor belt at the Dr Pepper Snapple Group bottling plant in Irving, Tex. (Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg)

Coffee drinkers tend to savor their brew in the morning and switch to soda or water as the day goes on. But the world’s largest beverage companies want to turn that morning cup of joe into an all-day staple — and an heir to the sodas that consumers have soured on.

On Monday coffee giant Keurig Green Mountain acquired Dr Pepper Snapple, the maker of 7UP, Hawaiian Punch and other popular drinks. The reason? They’re trying to reach consumers “throughout the day,” according to a company news release.

Analysts say the new firm, to be named Keurig Dr Pepper, is far from alone in its quest to reinvent America’s favorite breakfast drink. Over the past two years, many of the country’s largest coffee chains and beverage-makers have pushed aggressively into new product lines intended for consumption in the afternoon and evening. Several of those firms, such as Panera and Stumptown, are already owned by Keurig’s corporate parent, JAB Holdings.

[Why the worst time to drink coffee is actually in the morning]

“They seem to really want to branch out beyond breakfast,” said Zoe Leavitt, a senior retail analyst at CB Insights, a market research company.

At first glance, Dr Pepper Snapple seems an odd target for a growing coffee empire. The maker of more than 40 sodas, fruit juices and energy drinks has nonetheless been a perpetual third runner-up, behind Coca-Cola and Pepsi.

Meanwhile, JAB Holdings — a German firm owned by a family of secretive billionaires — has spent the past six years snapping up not only companies that make coffee but also restaurant chains that sell large volumes of it. In …read more


As NAFTA talks continue, your hamburger hangs in the balance

By Caitlin Dewey

Few Americans probably realize how much the classic burger and fries depends on a free-trade agreement. (Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)

Few meals are more American than a burger and fries, the combo McDonald’s made globally famous. But few Americans probably realize how much the affordability of that classic meal depends on a free-trade agreement.

French fries from Canada. Tomatoes from Mexico. Beef sourced from a supply chain that crosses all three countries. When it comes to dinner, there’s plenty at stake in the North American Free Trade Agreement, whose future was being negotiated at a sixth round of talks in Montreal on Monday.

[NAFTA talks that were supposed to end last year might continue into 2019]

Negotiators from Mexico, Canada and the United States expect to spend several more months working to revise the treaty after President Trump repeatedly threatened to withdraw. NAFTA has allowed billions of dollars of agricultural commodities to travel each year among the three countries.

Without NAFTA, many economists say, the price of some consumer goods would probably go up. Those include a handful of foods that could face tariff increases, supply chain disruptions and new protectionist trade barriers. While no one can predict exactly how these mechanisms would play out, they underscore the enormous complexity of the North American food system.

To understand the range of factors at play, consider the hamburger.

There’s a reason Canadian politicians have hyped the burger as an example of NAFTA’s universal benefits: Ground beef is the end product of a highly efficient, integrated international system.

U.S. farmers ship corn for cattle feed to Mexico and Canada. Mexico and Canada ship cattle — 1.7 million in 2016 — to the …read more