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Old 2020-01-23, 14:06   #1
Dr Sardonicus
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Default Mystery Economic Theater 2020

Mod. note: By way of reference, here are links to previous installments of this thread series: 2018-2019, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008. Not sure how 2018 bled over into 2019, but the original '2008' thread started out in 2007 as a "Subprime Mortgage Market Meltdown" thread and evolved into its present form as said meltdown metastasized into a global financial crisis unprecedented since the Great Depression. So there is a precedent for multi-year-spanning installments. But enough of my yakkin' - Dr. Sardonicus has the honor of opening the 2020 installment:


'Who is she?' - US Treasury chief takes swipe at Thunberg
At a press briefing at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss town of Davos, Mnuchin took a swipe at the 17-year-old environmental campaigner for her recommendation that both the public and private sectors should divest from fossil fuels.

When asked how that would affect the U.S. economic model, Mnuchin took a swipe at Thunberg.

"Is she the chief economist? Who is she? I'm confused," he said. Then following a brief pause, he said it was "a joke."
That's supposed to be a joke?
Mnuchin insisted that U.S. policy has been misinterpreted, and that Trump "absolutely believes" in a clean environment.
Now, that's a joke!

Last fiddled with by ewmayer on 2020-01-24 at 20:10
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Old 2020-02-08, 22:01   #2
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How Serbian Immigrants Made an Ohio Town the ‘Fried Chicken Capital of the World' - Gastro Obscura

A dispatch from my hometown in Ohio [I also have a hometown in Austria, which we left for the OH one when I was 4] - I ate at all those places growing up. Not saying the food is especially healthy, but if you're gonna indulge in an occasional greasy deep-fried chicken meal, I say do it the old-fashioned way and fry it in lard. I post the story here because of the reinventing-oneself-during-the-Great-Depression angle. Article fails to mention why the town was growing so fast back circa 1900 - O.C. Barber, the namesake, opened his Diamond Match Company factory there, IIRC employing thousands. The resulting worker-influx and population boom caused a town of tens of thousands to spring up virtually overnight, giving it its official nickname of The Magic City. During my time there it was a prototypical decaying Rust Belt town, but still with several key industrial plants as major employers: A toxic-chemical spewing PPG plant, an Ohio Brass plant, and Babcock & Wilcox, a maker of industrial fossil-fuel steam-boiler power plants, the Gigawatt-and-more kind, which was where my dad, a mechanical engineer, worked. In more recent decades most of those remaining large-scale employers have left, leaving a rather depressing post-industrial shell of a town. A perfect exemplar of the kind of deplorables-filled area of the country, left behind by neoliberal globalization, on which the 2016 US presidential election turned.
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Old 2020-02-08, 22:42   #3
Dr Sardonicus
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Originally Posted by ewmayer View Post
Not saying the food is especially healthy, but if you're gonna indulge in an occasional greasy deep-fried chicken meal, I say do it the old-fashioned way and fry it in lard.
Greasy fried chicken? The oil wasn't hot enough.

Lard can be heated hot enough for deep frying (350 F) -- its smoking point is 374 F.

It's probably also healthier than "vegetable shortening," AKA Crisco, AKA "partially hydrogenated vegetable oil," AKA "trans fat."

It's probably traditional because, back in the day, it's what a lot of people would have had.
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Old 2020-02-08, 23:20   #4
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My Mom used collected bacon grease, though she didn't do deep frying. This was pan frying in a two-burner-sized griddle that could hold all the pieces of a cut up whole chicken.
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Old 2020-02-09, 01:59   #5
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We worked at Milich's Village Inn for several years, first as a busboy/dishwasher and then as a host. Probably the cleanest restaurant we have ever witnessed! Everything was clean, even the places nobody looked. The food was good, too, although to this day we still can't eat fried chicken. We have quite a few humorous stories from that era to put in the book we will never write someday.

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Old 2020-02-13, 19:32   #6
Dr Sardonicus
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Default I want a list...

I became curious about the recent UN Human Rights Council list of companies involved in Israeli settlements. Sounds like Net and Yahoo is not happy about it.

I downloaded the file, but found to my annoyance that the list was embedded in some way that didn't allow me to copy/paste to a text file. I circumvented this little problem, and am as a public service posting the list.

My apologies for not recreating the table format. I include the listed activities, which are referred to in corresponding capital letters under "Category of listed activity" in the list of companies. There are no category "I" or "J" listings. There is one "H" listing (#46). Plenty of G's...

In resolution 31/36, the Council defined the database by reference to the listed activities compiled by the fact-finding mission in its report, which were:

(a) The supply of equipment and materials facilitating the construction and
the expansion of settlements and the wall, and associated infrastructures;

(b) The supply of surveillance and identification equipment for settlements,
the wall and checkpoints directly linked with settlements;

(c) The supply of equipment for the demolition of housing and property, the
destruction of agricultural farms, greenhouses, olive groves and crops;

(d) The supply of security services, equipment and materials to enterprises
operating in settlements;

(e) The provision of services and utilities supporting the maintenance and
existence of settlements, including transport;

(f) Banking and financial operations helping to develop, expand or maintain
settlements and their activities, including loans for housing and the development of

(g) The use of natural resources, in particular water and land, for business

(h) Pollution, and the dumping of waste in or its transfer to Palestinian

(i) Captivity of the Palestinian financial and economic markets, as well as
practices that disadvantage Palestinian enterprises, including through restrictions on
movement, administrative and legal constraints;

(j) Use of benefits and reinvestments of enterprises owned totally or partially
by settlers for developing, expanding and maintaining the settlements.
And now the list proper. I eliminated headers, footers, page numbers, and extra line feeds.

Business enterprises involved in listed activities

No. Business Enterprise Category of listed activity State concerned

1 Afikim Public Transportation Ltd. E Israel
2 Airbnb Inc. E United States
3 American Israeli Gas Corporation Ltd. E, G Israel
4 Amir Marketing and Investments in Agriculture Ltd. G Israel
5 Amos Hadar Properties and Investments Ltd. G Israel
6 Angel Bakeries E, G Israel
7 Archivists Ltd. G Israel
8 Ariel Properties Group E Israel
9 Ashtrom Industries Ltd. G Israel
10 Ashtrom Properties Ltd. G Israel
11 Avgol Industries 1953 Ltd. G Israel
12 Bank Hapoalim B.M. E, F Israel
13 Bank Leumi Le-Israel B.M. E, F Israel
14 Bank of Jerusalem Ltd. E, F Israel
15 Beit Haarchiv Ltd. G Israel
16 Bezeq, the Israel Telecommunication Corp Ltd. E, G Israel
17 B.V. E Netherlands
18 C Mer Industries Ltd. B Israel
19 Café Café Israel Ltd. E, G Israel
20 Caliber 3 D, G Israel
21 Cellcom Israel Ltd. E, G Israel
22 Cherriessa Ltd. G Israel
23 Chish Nofei Israel Ltd. G Israel
24 Citadis Israel Ltd. E, G Israel
25 Comasco Ltd. A Israel
26 Darban Investments Ltd. G Israel
27 Delek Group Ltd. E, G Israel
28 Delta Israel G Israel
29 Dor Alon Energy in Israel 1988 Ltd. E, G Israel
30 Egis Rail E France
31 Egged, Israel Transportation Cooperative Society Ltd. E Israel
32 Energix Renewable Energies Ltd. G Israel
33 EPR Systems Ltd. E, G Israel
34 Extal Ltd. G Israel
35 Expedia Group Inc. E United States
36 Field Produce Ltd. G Israel
37 Field Produce Marketing Ltd. G Israel
38 First International Bank of Israel Ltd. E, F Israel
39 Galshan Shvakim Ltd. E, D Israel
40 General Mills Israel Ltd. G Israel
41 Hadiklaim Israel Date Growers Cooperative Ltd. G Israel
42 Hot Mobile Ltd. E Israel
43 Hot Telecommunications Systems Ltd. E Israel
44 Industrial Buildings Corporation Ltd. G Israel
45 Israel Discount Bank Ltd. E, F Israel
46 Israel Railways Corporation Ltd. G, H Israel
47 Italek Ltd. E, G Israel
48 JC Bamford Excavators Ltd. A United Kingdom
49 Jerusalem Economy Ltd. G Israel
50 Kavim Public Transportation Ltd. E Israel
51 Lipski Installation and Sanitation Ltd. G Israel
52 Matrix IT Ltd. E, G Israel
53 Mayer Davidov Garages Ltd. E, G Israel
54 Mekorot Water Company Ltd. G Israel
55 Mercantile Discount Bank Ltd. E, F Israel
56 Merkavim Transportation Technologies Ltd. E Israel
57 Mizrahi Tefahot Bank Ltd. E, F Israel
58 Modi'in Ezrachi Group Ltd. E, D Israel
59 Mordechai Aviv Taasiot Beniyah 1973 Ltd. G Israel
60 Motorola Solutions Israel Ltd. B Israel
61 Municipal Bank Ltd. F Israel
62 Naaman Group Ltd. E, G Israel
63 Nof Yam Security Ltd. E, D Israel
64 Ofertex Industries 1997 Ltd. G Israel
65 Opodo Ltd. E United Kingdom
66 Bank Otsar Ha-Hayal Ltd. E, F Israel
67 Partner Communications Company Ltd. E, G Israel
68 Paz Oil Company Ltd. E, G Israel
69 Pelegas Ltd. G Israel
70 Pelephone Communications Ltd. E, G Israel
71 Proffimat S.R. Ltd. G Israel
72 Rami Levy Chain Stores Hashikma Marketing 2006 Ltd. E, G Israel
73 Rami Levy Hashikma Marketing Communication Ltd. E, G Israel
74 Re/Max Israel E Israel
75 Shalgal Food Ltd. G Israel
76 Shapir Engineering and Industry Ltd. E, G Israel
77 Shufersal Ltd. E, G Israel
78 Sonol Israel Ltd. E, G Israel
79 Superbus Ltd. E Israel
80 Supergum Industries 1969 Ltd. G Israel
81 Tahal Group International B.V. E Netherlands
82 TripAdvisor Inc. E United States
83 Twitoplast Ltd. G Israel
84 Unikowsky Maoz Ltd. G Israel
85 YES E Israel
86 Zakai Agricultural Know-how and inputs Ltd. G Israel
87 ZF Development and Construction G Israel
88 ZMH Hammermand Ltd. G Israel
89 Zorganika Ltd. G Israel
90 Zriha Hlavin Industries Ltd. G Israel

Business enterprises involved as parent companies

No. Business Enterprise Category of listed activity State concerned

91 Alon Blue Square Israel Ltd. E, G Israel
92 Alstom S.A. E, G France
93 Altice Europe N.V. E Netherlands
94 Amnon Mesilot Ltd. E Israel
95 Ashtrom Group Ltd. G Israel
96 Booking Holdings Inc. E United States
97 Brand Industries Ltd. G Israel
98 Delta Galil Industries Ltd. G Israel
99 eDreams ODIGEO S.A. E Luxembourg
100 Egis S.A. E France
101 Electra Ltd. E Israel
102 Export Investment Company Ltd. E, F Israel
103 General Mills Inc. G United States
104 Hadar Group G Israel
105 Hamat Group Ltd. G Israel
106 Indorama Ventures P.C.L. G Thailand
107 Kardan N.V. E Netherlands
108 Mayer's Cars and Trucks Co. Ltd. E Israel
109 Motorola Solutions Inc. B United States
110 Natoon Group E, D Israel
111 Villar International Ltd. G Israel

Business enterprises involved as licensors or franchisors

No. Business Enterprise Category of listed activity State concerned

112 Greenkote P.L.C. G United Kingdom
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Old 2020-02-13, 23:08   #7
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Been too long since I linked to an AEP article - he opines on what he predicts to be the dire global-economic fallout of the China Cornonavirus pandemic:

China cannot fight coronavirus and avert an economic crisis at the same time | Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, The Telegraph

The post-WW2-economic-consensus paradigm of ever-increasing globalization has never before faced a pandemic along 1918 Spanish Flu lines. It is not faring well - every link in those extended and intricately interwoven global supply chains represents a potential route of contagion.
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Old 2020-02-14, 06:13   #8
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That article must worth a lot, as it is under a paywall for me, but I guess what's inside, people again and again, heavily underestimate China. These imperialists never learn...

Last fiddled with by LaurV on 2020-02-14 at 06:17
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Old 2020-02-14, 23:08   #9
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" Ship the Airplane": The Cultural, Organizational and Technical Reasons Why Boeing Cannot Recover | Naked Capitalism: Devastating takedown of what went wrong at Boeing with the 737 Max – presented in straightforward terms non-engineers can understand.

And on a lighter political-economic theme, here in the US, leaders of both corrupt establishment parties are busily smearing Bernie Sanders proposals as "dangerous socialism":

Oddly, or not, the same kleptocratic elite class seems to have no problem whatever with socialism for the rich and for corporations, as embodied by the "privatized profits, socialized losses" model our big-money-captured government uses to subsidize Big Capital and to bail it out whenever it finds itself undone by its won greed.
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Old 2020-02-15, 19:09   #10
Dr Sardonicus
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Default Little big brands

I hope this is the right thread for this. It's a list of 28 well-known formerly independent brands that got eaten. I culled it as a fair-use excerpt from a Chicago Tribune photo gallery, and alphabetized it.

Annie's Homegrown
Annie's Homegrown co-founder Annie Withey started the company by selling mac and cheese from her car trunk in 1989. The brand best known for the colorful packaging and cute little bunny is still made with organic pasta, but it isn't exactly "homegrown" or independent, as the boxes might suggest. Annie's Homegrown was purchased by General Mills for $820 million in 2014.

Bear Naked Granola
Two high school friends, Kelly Flatley and Brendan Synnott, created Bear Naked Granola in 2002 and handed out packs of it to customers in Connecticut grocery stores. Their persistence eventually lead to a buyout from The Kellogg Company (Kellogg) for a whopping $60 million.

Ben & Jerry's
The quirky names (Truffle Kerfuffle, anyone?) and flavor mash-ups like cinnamon and spicy fudge brownie are undoubtedly unique and might even give off the impression that the ice cream brand is independently operated. Ben & Jerry's was founded in 1978 in Burlington, Vermont, but since 2000, it has been a subsidiary of European conglomerate Unilever, which also owns brands such as Breyer's, Dove, Lipton and Vaseline.

Blue Moon
You might not know that the "craft" beer Blue Moon is actually owned and made by MillerCoors. It's not unusual for big companies to want to be a part of the craft and artisanal scene, and most beer companies do it very subtly. There is no sign or packaging cue to let consumers know Blue Moon is part of a much larger brand.

Boca Burger
Boca Burgers could be seen as one of the first players in the vegetarian and vegan frozen foods market. The company's signature meat-substitute patties are made primarily with soy, which is made using genetically modified ingredients. The brand now has a small line of products made exclusively with non-GMO soy to appeal to a larger and newer customer base - though the original patties are still widely available. Kraft Foods bought Boca Burger in 2000.

The Body Shop
The beauty and body care company started in Brighton, England, in 1976 and is known for using ethically sourced ingredients and a variety of naturally inspired products like tea tree oil serums and shea body butters. The Body Shop was purchased by cosmetic giant L'Oreal in 2006 and acquired by Brazilian cosmetics company Natura in 2017.

Brookside's chocolate-covered fruit balls with goji, acai, blueberry and pomegranate aren't packaged as if they're mainstream, but the brand is now owned by Hershey.Ballast Point Brewing Company
San Diego-based Ballast Point Brewing Company started with a group of homebrewers selling their creations in 1996 and has grown into a popular craft ale brand. In 2015, it was bought by Constellation Brands Inc. - which also owns Corona - for $1 billion.

Burt's Bees
The personal care brand's story is as small-town as it gets. Roxanne Quimby was hitchhiking in Maine in 1984 when a local beekeeper named Burt Shavitz pulled over and offered her a ride. They hit it off and Quimby, a single mom, began making candles out of the unused wax from Shavitz's beehives. Together they started selling candles at craft fairs and evolved into a global company. The company is no longer based in Maine and its corporate parent might surprise you: The Clorox Company. Clorox purchased Burt's Bees in 2007.

Cape Cod Potato Chips
Cape Cod Potato Chips began in a New England kitchen when two small business owners decided they wanted to sell the kettle-cooked chips they had been making for years. In 1989, they opened up shop in Hyannis, Massachusetts, and became a local favorite. But they didn't stay a local brand - Cape Cod Chips was acquired by Campbell Soup Co. in December 2017 for a massive $4.9 billion.

Cascadian Farms
Cascadian Farms, which offers organic granola bars and frozen fruits and vegetables, actually began on a farm in Washington. Founder Gene Kahn was a graduate student from Chicago who became interested in organic farming. He began selling his organic foods in local markets and caught the eye of a food giant. General Mills bought the company in 2000.

Dagoba Organic Chocolate
Dagoba, a brand of premium organic chocolate, was founded in 2001 by Frederick Schilling in his Colorado home kitchen. Dagoba means "temple" in Sanskrit, and according to the company website, Schilling "built his own little temple of chocolate" - a small factory in Ashland, Oregon. Dagoba is Rainforest Alliance certified and is still produced in small batches at the Oregon factory. The company also continues to value the impact of local communities. However, the small-scale brand is now owned by Hershey.

Honest Tea
Both Seth Goldman and Barry Nalebuff - a professor at Yale School of Management - were in search of a flavorful beverage that wasn't too sweet. In 1998, they launched Honest Tea out of Goldman's kitchen in Bethesda, Maryland. The first five flavors to hit shelves were Gold Rush Cinnamon, Kashmiri Chai, Black Forest Berry, Moroccan Mint Green and Assam Black. In 2008, the year the company turned 10, Coca-Cola bought a 40% stake in Honest Tea. Then in 2011, Coca-Cola purchased the remaining 60% of the company, since operating it as an independent unit.

Justin's Nut Butter
Justin's nut butters have a pretty humble success story considering the brand is now owned by Hormel, which makes Skippy. Justin Gold, the namesake and founder of the spreads, squeeze packs and chocolate peanut butter cups, began by making experimental nut butters with a food processor in his Boulder, Colorado, kitchen in 2004. He started selling batches of his all-natural, high-quality spreads at the Boulder Farmers' Market, then convinced local retailers to allow him to stock their shelves and demo the nut butters in store. In 2016, Justin's was purchased by Hormel Foods for $286 million.

If you're a fan of fermented probiotic drinks and kombucha, then you're probably familiar with KeVita - the sparkling beverage in a glass bottle that contains less than 50 calories per serving and no artificial sugars. From the looks of it, you'd never guess that KeVita is actually owned by PepsiCo. KeVita was founded in 2009 and bought out in 2016 by the beverage conglomerate.

The raw fruit and nut bars originated when founder Lara Merriken was inspired to create a nutritious bar that could appeal to anyone, not just health food lovers. She took inspiration from ice cream flavors and other desserts and started making the bars at home, using her family and friends as taste testers. Merriken had already worked at Whole Foods Market in Denver as a buyer in the store's nutrition department, and Whole Foods agreed to stock her bars in 2003. According to a blog post by the company, more than 1 million were sold in the first year. General Mills - hoping to continue the homemade brand's success - bought Larabar in 2008.

The simplistic, closet-staple brand Madewell was originally a workwear company in New Bedford, Massachusetts, that was founded in 1937. The clothes have a mom-and-pop vintage vibe - but not mom-and-pop ownership. Madewell is currently owned by J. Crew.

Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day
Mrs. Thelma A. Meyer - a real person and the inspiration behind the aromatherapeutic cleaning products - is a mother of nine who came up with an idea to make household cleaners friendlier and better smelling. Her daughter, Monica Nassif, created the small line and it was bought by SC Johnson in 2008.

Naked Juice
Naked Juice began when Jimmy Rosenberg started making fruit drinks in his home and selling them on the beaches of Santa Monica, California. It was bought by PepsiCo in 2007. The company is dedicated to using no added sugar or preservatives, but a 2013 lawsuit claimed that Naked Juice products incorporate ingredients that are not "all natural" and contain GMOs. PepsiCo refuted these claims but agreed to a $9 million settlement. In a statement posted as a comment on Facebook, Naked Juice stood by its "all natural" claims but said it would no longer use the phrase on packaging.

Nantucket Nectars
Nantucket Nectars did originate in Nantucket, Massachusetts, when Tom First and Tom Scott met at Brown University in 1985 and headed to Nantucket to start a floating convenience store. One night, they pulled out their blender and made juice. It did not stay local, however. In 2002, Nantucket Nectars was acquired by Cadbury Schweppes and is now part of Dr Pepper Snapple Group.

Odwalla was founded in 1980 by three musicians in Santa Cruz, California, selling fresh fruit juice from a backyard shed. In 2001, it was purchased by Coca-Cola for a whopping $181 million.

Poland Spring
Poland Spring, a brand of bottled water produced in Poland, Maine, and named after the original natural spring-water in the town, has local roots, but the ownership is pretty large: Nestle.

RxBar started in a basement in suburban Illinois when two friends began whipping up nutrition bars. Peter Rahal, who started the company with Jared Smith, said they began selling their bars at CrossFit gyms and online - they both put in $5,000 to fund their startup. Rx protein bars are known for displaying their simple ingredients on the front of the packaging. For example, the packaging for the blueberry bar reads: three egg whites, six almonds, four cashews, two dates, "No B.S." Kellogg purchased the Chicago-based company for $600 million in 2018.

Smart Water
According to Coca-Cola's 2018 Annual Report, the company made $31.86 billion in revenue in 2018. And though Coca-Cola is the leading carbonated beverage conglomerate, it fares well in noncarbonated drinks and enhanced waters, too. Smartwater, produced by Glaceau, was purchased by Coca-Cola for $4.1 billion in 2007.

S. Pellegrino
You've probably seen S. Pellegrino's sparkling mineral water at a restaurant - the clean, green-tinted glass bottles are a signature for the company. They also have sparkling fruit beverages in grapefruit, blood orange, lemon and more. The Italian mineral water comes off as an artisanal brand, but it's owned by a corporate giant. In 1997, S. Pellegrino was outright purchased by Nestle, which already owned a 49% stake.

Stacy's Pita Chips
Stacy's Pita Chips were already the top-selling pita chips on the market when they were acquired by PepsiCo in 2006, but the company had humble beginnings. Founder Stacy Madison ran a popular food cart in downtown Boston selling sandwiches made with fresh pita bread. To keep her hungry customers happy, she baked the leftover pita bread into seasoned pita chips and handed them out while they waited in line.

Stonyfield, the organic yogurt brand, was acquired by French dairy company Lactalis for $875 million in 2017. The company is still located in New Hampshire and according to its website, Stoneyfield supports a huge network of food producers made up of hundreds of organic family farms, thousands of organic cows and more than 200,000 acres.

Tom's of Maine
In 1970, with the help of a $5,000 loan from a friend, Tom and Kate Chappell launched their own company focused on naturally derived personal care products. And five years later, they launched the first natural toothpaste in the United States - Tom's of Maine toothpaste. Consumers still won't find any animal bi-products, peroxides or artificial ingredients in any of Tom's of Maine's items, which include deodorant, body wash and other oral care, but ownership has changed. In 2006, Tom's of Maine was purchased by Colgate Palmolive.

Zico Coconut Water
Zico founder Mark Rampolla left his corporate career in 2004 to create coconut water after volunteering with the Peace Corps in Central America and seeing how the locals regularly drank the replenishing natural water. He started by selling it out of a van to New York City yoga studios. In 2009, Coca-Cola invested in Zico after Rampolla's startup became a leader in the plant-based water market. And in 2013, Coca-Cola acquired the brand completely.

Last fiddled with by Dr Sardonicus on 2020-02-15 at 19:18 Reason: Add link
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Old 2020-02-15, 19:45   #11
ewmayer's Avatar
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Originally Posted by Dr Sardonicus View Post
S. Pellegrino
You've probably seen S. Pellegrino's sparkling mineral water at a restaurant - the clean, green-tinted glass bottles are a signature for the company. They also have sparkling fruit beverages in grapefruit, blood orange, lemon and more. The Italian mineral water comes off as an artisanal brand, but it's owned by a corporate giant. In 1997, S. Pellegrino was outright purchased by Nestle, which already owned a 49% stake.
I'm sure this is completely unrelated, but a few years ago bottles of Pellegrino got downsized from 1L to 750ml and continued selling at the 1L price. That's when I switched to the Whole Foods house 365 brand, which still sells fizzwater in 1L bottles, for less than a 750ml Pellegrino. Given that the latter is now owned by Nestle, worldwide stealers of water, I doubt I am sacrificing anything on the quality front, either. I recently explained all this to my sister on a recent joint shopping trip to WF, she instinctively reached for the fancier-label Pellegrino, changed her choice to the 365 brand once I gave her the lowdown.

And, yes, buyouts and subsequent brand crapificiation by giant conglomerates is a good fit for this thread.
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