National / International News
This morning two food industry titans face off against federal antitrust authorities in court. The issue: whether a proposed mega-merger in the wholesale business would aggregate too much market power, and quash competition.
The two companies are national giants in food distribution: U.S. Foods and Sysco. They sell meat, produce and paper goods to chain restaurants and hotels.
The Federal Trade Commission sued to block the merger, arguing the combination would control 75 percent the national market. The FTC is seeking a preliminary injunction.
Sysco and U.S. Foods say a merger still leaves a lot of space for competition at the local level.
The two sides will appear in federal court for at least four days.
There was a time in America when the beer tended to be yellow and insipid. That's changed with the craft beer movement and the arms race over hops. But what about a lot of the rest of our food? Mark Schatzker is a food writer who has a new book with a publication date of this week called "The Dorito Effect." We chat with him about the link between taste and nutrition.
Excerpt from the book:
"Flavor, as we will see, is the aspect of the human environment that has changed. The food we eat today still seems like food, but it tastes very different than it used to. For the better part of a century, two complimentary trends have conspired to transform the flavor of what we eat. These two trends were already ascendant when Jean Nidetch was mistaken for pregnant in that Long Island supermarket. And within a year, they would unite in a Dallas suburb with the momentous utterance of a single word: “taco.”"
We shared some flavorful AND affordable tomatoes and chocolate with Mr. Schatzker. You can learn more about research on food and flavors in the following links:
University of Florida: Klee Lab tomatos -- where people can donate $10 to flavor research and get tomato seeds to grow in their garden. http://hos.ufl.edu/kleeweb/newcultivars.html
The cocoa breeder is CATIE: http://catie.ac.cr/en/products-and-services/collections-and-germplasm-banks/international-cocoa-collection
The samples were made by Guittard chocolate, which will be using these cocoa beans once they are grown on a larger scale: https://www.guittard.com
Click the link below to hear our last conversation with Mr. Schatkzer on the shortage of chocolate:
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, millions more Americans now have insurance that will cover addiction treatment, with spending on addiction treatment expected to almost double by 2020.
But a new report in the journal Health Affairs finds that despite newfound access, many facilities lack the capacity to take on new clients. Even with expanded access, University of South Carolina’s Christina Andrews says that coverage alone isn't getting many new patients in the door.
"The reality is it’s going to take years. And we have people right now who have great need," she says.
Andrews says half of the programs around the country don’t meet basic insurance company requirements.
And as of 2012, 63 percent lacked the health IT they need to communicate with doctors and hospitals. These program will eventually grow, it’s just probably not from an investment at the state level, says Henrick Harwood, with National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors.
"Remember that providers are businesses like any other. They are responsible for making their own investments," Harwood says.
He says given how political Obamacare remains, state spending is a long shot. But given the billions in new money that is available, there’s reason to think someone will find a way to expand treatment and make a bunch of money.
This is how much Shake Shack has grown since the burger chain went public in January, according to Reuters. About half a dozen fast-casual restaurant chains have had big IPOs last year. These companies cater to an emerging generation of younger diners who are looking for alternatives to McDonald's.$2,780
A poor child growing up in Los Angeles County – where Marketplace is based – can expect to earn that much less by age 26 than the national average. Even the children of one-percenters in LA see a drop, $4,460 less than the national average. What does that mean? Compared to the rest of the country, LA County has very poor economic mobility. A new study out of Harvard finds these drop-offs are not limited to Southern California. The Upshot's report on the study will customize to report on your county, or any county you choose.30,000
That's about how many people Carly Fiorina reportedly laid off while she was head of Hewlett-Packard. Someone registered carlyfiorina.org to remind people of that as Fiorina announced her White House bid Monday. Former CEOs who run for office have a few things going for them – knowledge of the economy, proven experience as a leader and often a conservative record that could attract voters. But being head of a large company also means your record as a job creator – or a job cutter – is out in the open.20,588
That's how many complaints of age discrimination were filed last year, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Fortune notes this number has been increasing since the dot-com boom, and some of that growth may be tied to employers looking to hire so-called "digital natives." The phrase is correlated with age, though some hiring managers defend its use as a quick way of describing strong digital skills.
One Pittsburgh middle-school teacher is giving his black students a valuable education in social studies. And life.
California officials are finalizing a mandatory plan to cut water use across the state. Cities looking for a road map on how to save water might consider Santa Barbara's example.