The U.S. Supreme Court ruled states can require internet retailers to collect sales taxes even if a company does not have a physical presence within the state. The court noted the physical presence rule, established in 1967, put brick-and-mortar business at a disadvantage as they competed against e-commerce retailers, reported NBC News.
Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises expects to phase out the use of plastic straws at its restaurants by Oct. 1. The chain plans to transition all of its 120 locations to alternatives, including paper, hay and biodegradable plastic straws, though customers will be encouraged to not use straws at all, according to the company's president, reported Chicago Tribune. Portland, OR, is set to ban plastic straws at retail and foodservice establishments in the city. Council members adopted a resolution instructing the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability to develop a plan to reduce the use of single-use and non-recyclable plastics, with a specific focus on plastic straws, reported The Oregonian. McDonald's will begin a global switch to paper straws, with plans to test an alternative to plastic in some of its U.S. restaurants later in 2018. The company will begin to phase out plastic straws at its restaurants in the UK and Ireland in September and intends to test alternatives in its restaurants in France, Sweden and Norway, reported The State.
A U.S. appeals court revived Dr. Pepper Snapple Group Inc.'s challenge to Coca-Cola Co.'s effort to register trademarks for soft drinks and sports drinks with names containing the word "zero." The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, DC, threw out a May 2016 dismissal of much of Dr. Pepper's decade-old case, saying a trademark review board failed to properly analyze whether "zero" was too generic to be trademarked, reported St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
A bill to impose a fee on plastic and paper shopping bags in New Jersey cleared budget committees in both the Assembly and Senate. Legislative leaders expect the proposal to generate $23.4 million. The bill, which would would go into effect on Oct. 1., would place a five-cent fee on every bag at any chain store or any store with more than 2,000-sq. ft. of retail space, reported NJ.com.
Starbucks will close 150 underperforming stores as same-store sales are expected to be up 1% in the current quarter. Frappuccino sales are down 3% this year through May as the company's CEO said the entire "slushy coffee" category is in decline as consumers look for healthier options. Starbucks is bringing in an outside consulting firm to find cost savings, which the company hopes to realize as soon as its fourth quarter, reported The Seattle Times.
Dunkin' Donuts could double the number of its locations, particularly in the western U.S. where the chain has less of a presence, according to the company's CEO. It is testing a "next generation" store model in a handful of new U.S. locations that will feature more espresso-based drinks, doughnuts displayed in cases much closer to consumers, more grab-and-go options, high-volume brewing machines and cold drink taps for cold-brew and nitrogen-infused coffee and iced black and green tea, reported Chicago Tribune.
A Chicago federal judge ruled in Gatorade's favor in a trademark infringement lawsuit brought by a Chicago area nutrition consultant. The company can continue to use "Sports Fuel" in ad campaigns and to market the product line, despite claims from the SportFuel firm that it would cause confusion among consumers, reported Chicago Tribune.
Costco is testing technology at its Midwest stores that could more than double the shelf life of vegetables and fruits. The technology, developed by startup Apeel Sciences, consists of an invisible, plant-based film that reinforces the avocados' own skin. Apeel hopes to expand to Costco stores nationwide within the year, as well as to other produce, such as nectarines and asparagus, reported Los Angeles Times.
Pizza Hut will source chicken raised free of antibiotics important for human medicine by 2022. The company noted it will apply to all of its chicken products, including WingStreet wings, reported MarketWatch.
The trade disadvantages facing the lobster industry in China and EU could force Maine dealers, processors and lobster product manufacturers to leave for Canada, according to the Maine Lobster Dealers Association. If new Chinese tariffs are implemented and old tariffs remain on U.S. lobster, but rolled back for Canada, Maine lobstermen will be at a 45% price disadvantage, reported Portland Press Herald.
Pop Gourmet signed an exclusive agreement with Clorox Co. to produce and sell popcorn and potato chips under the Hidden Valley Ranch and Kingsford brands. Brand partnerships are expected to increase Pop's visibility and boost sales, making it an attractive takeover target for potential acquirers, according to Pop's director of corporate finance. In addition, the company will launch a better-for-you line of popcorn in three flavors, reported Puget Sound Business Journal.
Many crab houses on Maryland's Eastern Shore expect to be mostly idle this summer due to a labor shortage. The seafood industry has only about half of its typical workforce because fewer migrant workers were approved for visa this year, and businesses say they can't find Americans to do the work, reported The Washington Post.
California officials proposed a regulation clarifying that cancer warnings are not required for coffee. The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment's proposed regulation states drinking coffee does not pose a significant cancer risk, despite the presence of chemicals created during the roasting and brewing process.
Increased competition could lead to the closing of about 500 grocery stores along the East Coast, and brands such as Food Lion and the Fresh Market could be heavily impacted, according to a supermarket analyst. In addition, budget players are creating a threat, and online-only has made consumers used to extremely low prices that grocery stores are struggling to match, according to an associate professor at the University of North Carolina, reported The News & Observer.
Wegmans was voted the best grocery store chain in the U.S., followed by Publix, Trader Joe's, Aldi and H-E-B, according to a Market Force Information poll. Both Wegmans and Publix scored highest on store cleanliness and item availability, but Wegmans earned the top spot for its specialty department service, reported Business Insider.
China raised import duties on $34 billion worth of U.S. products, including soybeans, salmon, lobster, and orange juice, in response to U.S. tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods. The U.S. aims to impose the additional tariffs by July 6, with plans to consider widening the tariff plan to an additional $16 billion worth of products, reported Yakima Herald-Republic. Full Story
Meanwhile, Iowa farmers could lose up to $624 million, depending on how long tariffs imposed by China are in place and the speed producers can find new markets for soybeans, according to an Iowa State University economist. U.S. soybean prices have fallen about 12% since March, when the U.S.-China trade dispute began, reported The Des Moines Register.
Including "fresh" on a food label increases its attractiveness for 81% of Americans, according to a survey by Morning Consult. However, words such as vegan, diet, sugar-free, fat-free, gluten-free and organic make grocery products less appealing, according to Statista, reported Bizwomen.
Subway is allowing some franchisees to opt out of breakfast service, according to Subway's North American franchisee association. According to research from Field Agent, 43% of Subway customers don't eat there for breakfast, 19% didn't know the company offered it, and the majority said it will not affect how much they eat at the chain if breakfast is discontinued, reported Bloomberg.
Kentucky Fried Chicken is testing chicken and waffles in the Charlotte, Asheville and Greenville, NC, markets. The dish features Liege-style Belgian waffles with KFC's Extra Crispy fried chicken and a side of syrup, reported Charlotte Business Journal.
Vegan ice cream maker NadaMoo opened its first store in Austin, TX. The store will feature ice cream flavors found in grocery stores and flavors made specifically for the store, as well as vegan baked goods and coffee with dairy-free creamers. The location will also house a test kitchen for future NadaMoo ice cream flavors, reported Austin Business Journal.
Replacing potatoes or rice with lentils can lower blood glucose levels, according to a University of Guelph study. The researchers found replacing half a serving of rice with lentils caused blood glucose to drop by up to 20%, while replacing potatoes with lentils led to a 35% drop, reported ScienceDaily