Afternoon Coffee: Beef Prices Soar, H&M bans PFCs, Hurricane Isaac Lessons, McDonald’s Goes Veggie

Where's the beef?
Beef Prices Balloon as Herd Thins -- Beef prices were sizzling heading into Labor Day weekend, the kickoff of the traditional autumn grilling season. But traders and analysts say the high prices are just a taste of what is to come. Dry weather since 2011 has made it difficult for ranchers to keep cattle on the range. The drought has parched pastures and curbed corn, hay and soybean production, driving up the price of feed. Last year, ranchers sold more animals than normal to slaughterhouses rather than pay the high cost to feed them.

Reducing hazardous materials in its supply chain.
H&M to ban PFCs from supply chain -- Fashion retailer H&M Hennes & Mauritz today (4 August) said it will ban the use of a chemical which creates water repellent effects as part of its efforts to reduce the use of hazardous substances. The ban will mean that all orders after 1 January 2013 will be produced without Perfluorinated Compounds (PFCs). PFCs are used to make products water repellent and are mostly used on outwear garments, as well as shower curtains and tents. PFCs are harmful for the environment, for reproduction and aquatic organisms, H&M said. The retailer has been working since 1995 to reduce the use and impact of hazardous chemicals in its supply chain, adding that it carried out more than 30,000 chemical tests during 2011.

Disruptions from the storm.
Hurricane Isaac: Lessons For The Global Supply Chain -- As Hurricane Isaac pounded the Gulf Coast this week, several major ports were forced to shut down. When disruptions like this happen, business is impacted in several ways. First, companies have to re-route carefully orchestrated supply lines, which adds days and extra logistics costs. More importantly, companies must scramble, without good information, to get the right inventory to the right place at the right time. Failure to do so means empty shelves, assembly line shutdowns, lost profits and unhappy customers.

Super size me:
McDonald's opens first vegetarian only restaurant -- The standard-bearer of the hamburger, McDonald's, is bowing to local demand and is opening a meat-free restaurant in India. The global chain, whose best-known product is the Big Mac burger in a bun, says it will be its first vegetarian outlet. McDonald's, the world's second biggest food outlet after Subway, increasingly adapts its range to local demand. Both India's Hindu majority and Muslims can eat the same meat-free dishes.

- Sheena Moore

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