Thursday, September 8, 2011

Nestle India, HUL raise coffee prices by 10-12%

Consumers in India already paying more for many essential commodities now need to pay more for their favourite cup of coffee. FMCG companies Nestle India and Hindustan Unilever have raised prices of their coffee brands Nescafe and Bru respectively by 10-12% over the last couple of months, according to retailers and a research report by JP Morgan.

The price hikes by FMCG companies come in the wake of a sustained rise in cost of raw materials over last several quarters. Prices of raw coffee have surged globally amid supply hiccups.

For instance, price of the most consumed Arabica variety of coffee rose 50% in a year, according to a Bloomberg report. However, coffee prices may be at their peak right now and the rally could end due to record output in Central America, the report says.

Global production of Arabica will outpace demand in 2011-12, analysts say. Netherlands based bank ABN Amro last month forecast a global Arabica surplus of 6.90 lakh 60 kg bags in season beginning October.
FMCG companies in India have been facing pressures from a spike in raw materials across the board. Nestle India’s input costs, for instance, rose over 12% in April-June, while Hindustan Unilever’s raw material costs were up 26%.

Hindustan Unilever and others like Godrej Consumer Products , Bajaj Corp and Dabur have raised prices of some of their products, especially in personal care products and soaps & detergents by 3-10% over June-August. Colgate Palmolive India too has raised prices of some of its toothpastes by 3-6%.
Most FMCG stocks have outperformed the broader markets this year as investors have sought cover under defensive sectors amid an overall volatile market.

The CNX FMCG index is up 1.7% in the last three months, even as the broader Nifty has fallen 7.3%.
Nestle shares ended at Rs 4,454.10, up 1%, while HUL closed up 0.2% at Rs 320.50 on Wednesday.
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Monday, September 5, 2011

Farmers raise coffee quality in bid to boost their incomes

Small-scale coffee farmers are expected to earn premium prices in world markets with the support of a Netherlands NGO. Solidaridad has offered to work with farmers to implement quality requirements for the produce under the Utz and Fair Trade certification schemes.

“Solidaridad gets funds from donors to help smallholder farmers in implementing certification codes,” said Mr Karugu Macharia, the organisation’s regional director. Farmers have in the past blamed certification, which is an expensive affair, for locking them out of the lucrative speciality coffee markets.
Certification through Utz, for instance, costs Sh1.6 million while through Rainforest it costs Sh580,000 and Four Seas Sh400,000.

Safety standards: The amounts are usually denominated in hard currencies such as the dollar and the euro, which were exchanging at Sh94 and Sh135 against the shilling, respectively, last week.

Other costs include paying for regular audits conducted by independent firms, which check implementation of certification standards. Auditors are sometimes flown from abroad at the cost of the farmers whose produce is being certified.

Implementation itself can also be very expensive since it may require a complete overhaul of production process, such as fertiliser and chemical application, health and safety standards, record keeping, and fair labour practices. Solidaridad helps farmers mainly through training, consultancy and budget support.

Certified coffee: The support programme has already helped seven coffee co-operative societies to implement certification while eight more are on the waiting list.

The quality standards ensure that farmers meet a set code of environmental, social and economic parameters in coffee production, including documentation, to facilitate tracking of the certified coffee.

After meeting these standards, their coffee is labelled as certified through several of the available certification schemes such as Utz, Fair Trade, Four Seas and Rainforest Alliance.

Buyers in key coffee markets are willing to offer premium price for the certified coffee that would boost farmers’ earnings. To help bring down the costs of certification, farmers have been advised to carry out their own regular internal audits which will help reduce the time it takes for external auditors to inspect them.
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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Owning a coffee shop

Owning a coffee shop is a of many small business opportunities available. More and more and more people though, are discovering that it's a niche which may be profitable even if the economy is on a downturn. The respected on-line magazine Slate recently reported that 90% of coffee house start ups were making money, a record that other market sectors are only able to take a look at with envy.

This isn't to express owning a coffee shop is definitely an automatic licence to print money! However, with a few thought and some planning a new launch has every chance of becoming a big part of your community and they may be opened by individuals who have no idea anything about the different kinds of beans in Colombia.

There's something that's more prone to define the success or else of a coffee shop than other things. Think these magic words - "Location, Location, Location". The great news is that you simply convey more of a concept of the right place for your coffee house than you understand. Whenever you visit your town or city centre, stop and take a browse around. Where do people often stop and take a look at the surroundings, or where will they gather? Once they are heading into work, how does the traffic flow? You can observe these are all potential business locations have a chance of success.

Of course, there are lots of other activities to think about for those who have considered owning a coffee shop but there's no reason to become afraid or intimidated by the big chains. They've helped create this growing niche. With a good location and a little imagination, owning a coffee shop is a truly exciting business proposition.
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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Coffee suncream could slow skin cancer

Applying caffeine to the skin in sunny weather may protect against a type of skin cancer, US researchers hope. Experiments on mice, reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggest that caffeine prevents UV damage.

Tumours took longer to develop and there were fewer of them, the study reports. But other experts warned there could be an adverse affect on other cancers by using caffeine in this way. The researchers did not apply caffeine to the mice, instead they genetically modified the animals.

Caffeine is known to interfere with a protein involved in detecting DNA damage called ATR. Scientists modified the mice so they did not produce any ATR in the skin.

Mice were then exposed to UV light three times a week for 40 weeks. Those without ATR developed their first tumour three weeks later than normal mice. After 19 weeks there were 69% fewer tumours in mice without ATR, although by the end of the study all of the animals had developed one of the most common forms of skin cancer - squamous cell carcinoma.

Prevention possibility: The study said: “At any given point in time the average number of tumours in [modified] mice was significantly lower. “Caffeine application could be useful in preventing UV-induced skin cancers,” the researchers add.

Applying caffeine on a beach to a person’s skin, however, is not the same thing as genetically modifying mouse skin in a laboratory. Further studies would be needed to show any possible protective effect in humans.

Prof Dot Bennett, professor of cell biology, St George’s, University of London, said: “The authors suggest adding caffeine or related molecules to sunscreens.

“First one might want to check there is no adverse effect of caffeine on the incidence of other cancers, especially melanoma, pigmented skin cancer, which kills over four times as many people as squamous cell carcinoma. “But caffeine lotion might promote tanning a little, since this family of molecules stimulates pigment cells to make more pigment.”
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Friday, August 19, 2011

Caribou Coffee prices stock offering at $14.25

Cafe operator Caribou Coffee Co. Inc. announced Thursday that it has priced at $14.25 a share the public offering of 5.15 million shares of common stock held by its major shareholder. The company has about 20.7 million shares outstanding. It won't receive any proceeds from the sale.

The offering is expected to close on Aug. 23, the company said in a news release. The shareholder, Caribou Holding Co. Ltd., is an affiliate of Bahrainian investment firm Arcapita Bank BSC. Caribou Holding Co. also is giving the underwriters of the offering an option to buy up to 772,245 additional shares to cover any excess demand.

Caribou Coffee, based in Brooklyn Center, Minn., is the No. 2 coffeehouse chain in the U.S. after Starbucks Corp. The company reported earlier this month that its second-quarter net income jumped 83 percent as revenue from its coffee stores, commercial sales and franchises rose.

Jefferies & Co. was lead manager for the offering, while Robert W. Baird & Co. and William Blair & Co. were managers, and Craig-Hallum Capital Group was co-manager. Caribou Coffee shares fell $1.37, more than 9 percent, to $13.38 by mid-afternoon amid a market plunge sparked by worries about the weakening economy.
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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Dunkin‘ Donuts to serve single-serve cups

Dunkin‘ Donuts will start selling its coffee in single-serve Keurig cups Wednesday, beating rival Starbucks Corp. to the market in a fast-growing portion of the coffee business. The K-Cups can be used in Keurig brewing systems, which have gained popularity in offices and homes. The company that makes them, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc., first announced its partnership with Dunkin‘ Donuts in February. Since then, it has also announced agreements with Starbucks Corp. and ConAgra Foods Inc.’s Swiss Miss hot chocolate brand. Starbucks plans to start offering K-Cups in the fall.

The Dunkin‘ Donuts K-Cups will be available only at Dunkin‘ Donuts shops. Utility regulators unanimously rejected a plan Tuesday that would have trimmed the profits of the Southern Co. if it breaks its budget while building what may become the first brand-new nuclear plant in a generation.

The elected members of the state Public Service Commission voted 5-0 to approve a compromise negotiated between its staff and Southern Co. subsidiary Georgia Power that shelved a proposal meant to pressure the utility into controlling construction costs while building two Westinghouse Electric Co. AP1000 reactors at Plant Vogtle near Augusta. The cost of building the existing reactors at the site jumped from $660 million to nearly $9 billion by the time they started producing power in the late 1980s.

Under state law, Georgia Power’s 2.4 million customers will ultimately reimburse the state-regulated monopoly for the flagship plant as they pay their monthly electricity bills. President Obama’s administration had awarded the project $8 billion in federal loan guarantees as it seeks to increase the country’s use of nuclear power.

US Airways Group Inc. says it will offer direct refunds of ticket taxes that travelers paid before the taxes lapsed on July 23. The taxes can add up to $60 or more on a $300 round-trip ticket. They stopped when the Federal Aviation Administration partially shut down. Travelers who bought tickets before the shutdown but flew during it are due a refund.

Some airlines have been telling travelers to ask the IRS for a refund. The Internal Revenue Service has asked airlines to refund the money directly. Delta said on Monday that it would offer direct refunds, and US Airways joined them on Tuesday.
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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Mr. Coffee Versus Bunn-o-Matic - The Coffee Maker Battle Heats Up

For coffee lovers, there are few things more appealing than being met in the early a.m. hours by a perfectly brewed pot of coffee. That first cup sets the mood for your entire day, doesn't it? If it's brewed up right, you'll feel that extra zing in your step from morning till night. However, if that first cup is too strong or too weak, too hot or not hot enough, you quickly find yourself spiraling into a first-class coffee crisis.

So, how do you avoid a coffee catastrophe? It's simple, buy the best coffee maker on the market made especially for your coffee-drinking needs! Sounds simple enough, right? But, who makes the best coffee maker today? In other words, who is the All-Time Champion of Coffee Makers?

Ladies and gentlemen, we'd like to welcome you to our title bout of the day where two mighty coffee making titans - Mr. Coffee and Bunn-o-Matic - will meet in the kitchen to crown the undisputed coffee making champion of the world.

Introducing The Coffee maker Contenders In the green corner, we have Mr. Coffee - long-recognized as the undisputed champion of home coffee makers. Affordable with many models to choose from, Mr. Coffee currently has over a dozen models on the market retailing from between $24.99 to $89.99. With makers serving up between one and twelve cups, he'll be hard to beat. In fact, Mr. Coffee is in great shape with an amazing array of features and settings, including single serve, speed brew, switch, programmable, and thermal models.

In the red corner, we have the Bunn-o-Matic - king of the commercial coffee making market. Found in restaurants and chosen by baristas around the world, Bunn-o-Matic is known for his professional-grade machines. With a limited variety (e.g., currently seven models, with one single serve and 6-10 cup models), judges will need to pay close attention to the details to see what kind of punch the Bunn-o-Matic packs. One thing is for sure: with a starting price of $89.95, Bunn-o-Matic definitely tips the scales as a higher-priced option for home consumers.

For those of you who are new to the clash of the coffee makers, here's what the judges will be looking for during the brew-off:

Cup size
How many cups can your coffee maker cook up (say that five times fast)? Most brands today have single-serve and multiple cup models, with 10-12 cups being the upper limit for most home coffee makers
If having your coffee pre-made for you when you wake up is important, then a timer is going to be key! Timers allow you to set the time when your coffee maker will start doing its thing and brewing you up your beloved coffee
If you have unlimited counter space, then this criterion might not matter much to you. But, for those of you for whom counter space is at a premium, deciding upon a model that fits your space as well as your d├ęcor might be an important consideration
But, to truly separate the two competitors, our judges will also be looking closely at the following four areas:

Ease of Use
This is self-explanatory - at 6 a.m., you want a machine that is easy to use
As you know, coffee makers aren't the most pampered of home appliances. They can get pretty banged up with daily use. Choosing a hardy model is essential
Ease of Cleaning
Starting with a well-maintained and cleaned pot is one of the best ways to assure yourself of a great cup of coffee day after day

Yes, in the end, many of us like our coffee makers to look cool. Sure, while it's true that they are simply functional machines, we want these machines to represent our love for coffee
The fight is on between the top coffee makers in the world. So, who wins the home coffee maker battle? Bunn-o-Matic definitely has significantly higher priced models and less of a home-based selection, but is known for superior performance and durability. Mr. Coffee has a wider range of home models to choose from and most of their machines are significantly less expensive than even the lowest priced Bunn-o-Matic. In the end, it's a personal choice for you to decide. Remember, a great cup of coffee ends up being more than your coffee maker. Quality water, beans, and the proper grind for your machine all make a big difference in whether your coffee maker and first cup of coffee are winners.
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